Mary Curzon

Mary Curzon
For many members of America's late-nineteenth-century moneyed elite, the ultimate social goal was the marriage of their daughters into Europe's often-impoverished aristocracy. Among the most noteworthy and successful of those unions was the one between Mary Leiter and the British aristocrat George Curzon. The daughter of a Chicago businessman who had made his fortune in dry goods and real estate, Leiter married Curzon in 1895. Three years later, the now Lady Curzon accompanied her husband to India, where he was to serve as Britain's viceroy. This likeness of Mary Curzon may have been a study for a larger painting with other figures. In any case, she liked the picture a good deal and wrote to the artist, "I have done well to wish to be painted by no one but you."

Mary Leiter Curzon 1870-1906
Franz von Lenbach (1836-1904)
Oil on board, 1901
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.
Bequest of Lady Alexandra Metcalfe

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