This is a portrait painting of Mary Wollstonecraft, a writer and feminist of the time of the Enlightenment. It is a oil on canvas painting made by John Opie (1761-1807). John Opie was an English historical and portrait painter. He painted many great men and women of his day, most who were in artistic and literary professions.
The writer Mary Wollstonecraft is portrayed in this painting with utmost simplicity. In this portrait, she wears a high waisted gown, possibly cotton. Her hair is plainly styled and is partially covered by a soft hat. This painting reflects Mary Wollstonecraft’s view on a person’s attire. She made her opinion on dress clear through her published work when she mentioned that a person’s attire should me moderate and should “adorn the person and not rival it.”As a woman with high principles, who wishes to gain respect and be taken seriously in the society of the mid-1790s, her attire had to be on restraint and elegance as portrayed in this wonderful oil painting.