Mrs. James Smith (Elizabeth Murray)

John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)


126.05 x 101.6 cm (49 5/8 x 40 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch Gallery (Gallery 132)





Elizabeth Murray Smith was an importer and retailer of British millinery and dry goods. She conducted her own business affairs and earned economic freedom unusual for a woman in colonial America. She probably commissioned this portrait, as she is known to have sat for Copley in 1769, two months after the death of her second husband. As she wrote to a friend, she was now able “to live and act as I please.”


The artist; to Smith family; to Elizabeth Murray Robbins, niece of the sitter; to James Murray Robbins, her son, Milton, Mass.; to Mrs. Robert P. Rogers, his sister, Canton, Mass., by 1915; to Joseph W.R. and Mary C. Rogers, her children; to MFA, 1942, gift of Joseph W. R. Rogers and Mary C. Rogers.

Credit Line

Gift of Joseph W. R. Rogers and Mary C. Rogers