Monday, February 2, 2009

Breaking: Martha Washington wasn't frumpy

The Washington Post has an interesting article this morning that suggests historians are taking an entirely new look at the first First Lady of the United States. Historian Patricia Brady is telling an entirely new story about Martha Washington, who it turns out was not a frumpy and plump dimwit but an 18th century hottie. The Post reports that Brady:
took a miniature watercolor-on-ivory portrait of Martha in middle age, which her grandchildren said was a "striking likeness," to forensic anthropologists at the Louisiana State University Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services, or FACES, Labratory. These are the scientists who do age progressions to determine what kidnapped children might look like as adults. Brady asked whether they could do the same process in reverse: take a middle-aged Martha and, using her bone structure, figure out what she would have looked like as a 25-year-old about to marry the future father of the country.
So here is the picture that Martha's grandkids said was a "striking likeness":


As the article observes, forensic anthropologists used that portrait to generate an image of what Martha looked like in her 20s. Their effort inspired Michael Deas to execute this painting:



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