The legendary Dolley Madison (17681849) engaged all who met her with her elegance and openness. At the time she sat for Stuart, she was already an integral part of the capital city, as helpmate to her husband and serving as hostess for President Jefferson, a widower. In Stuart's portrait, she wears the latest French fashion, a low-cut empire-waisted gown with her hair in chignon and ringlets. She cherished Stuart's work and understood the need for a portraitist of his talents in the capital city. After he left for Boston, she bemoaned his absence to a friend: "Steward [sic] is far from us."