Beatrice’s Best Buddy

John Singer  Sargent, 
 1856 – 1925, Miss Beatrice Townsend, 1882 (


“Eleanor Beatrice Townsend (1870–1884) was the sixth of seven children born to John Joseph Townsend, a New York attorney and politician, and his wife, Catherine Rebecca Bronson Townsend, a friend of John Singer Sargent’s and the subject of her own portrait by the artist. Portraits of children are among Sargent’s earliest works and remain some of his most captivating paintings. Rather than idealized images of childhood, the artist’s lively likenesses serve as character studies of his young sitters. The presence of a favorite toy or pet, such as the small terrier Beatrice clutches to her side, serves to emphasize the sitter’s individual personality. Here, Sargent captures the confidence and self-possession of his young subject as she meets the viewer’s gaze head-on. Sadly, only two years after this painting was completed, Beatrice died of peritonitis at age fourteen.” (


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