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Portrait of Sarah Clark Corbit

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


c. 1847


Probably Robert Street (1796-1865)


26 in x 21 in (sight)


Oil on canvas

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Sara Corbit Reese Pryor

Accession Number



Wm. CORBIT HOUSE / ODESSA, DELAWARE – 1772” is stamped into a metal tag attached to the back of the frame at the center top.

Condition Notes

Two slashes about 3 inches long in the center bottom of the canvas were repaired long ago.  The painting retains its original frame.


The portrait descended in the Corbit family to the donor, probably from Sarah to her daughter Mrs. Daniel Wheeler (Mary Clark Higgins) Corbit (1847–1909), to Sara Clark Corbit Curtis Levis (1871–1952), to the donor.


This portrait of Sarah Clark Corbit (1810–1871) 1991.65, daughter of Pennell and Mary Clark Corbit, shows her as a confident, if somber, woman.  Mary's mother and father had each died by the time she was 10 years old, and she was raised by her uncle Daniel Corbit.  In 1833, she married Anthony Madison Higgins (1809–1887) of a prominent Delaware family in 1833, the same year her younger sister Mary and adoptive father Daniel married.  The circumstances of family history suggest that the portrait was executed about 1847, when Daniel married his second wife, Mary Corbit Wilson.  Portraits of Sarah's sister Mary (acc. no. 1991.65), her father Daniel (acc. no. 1998.3), and her mother Mary (acc. no. 1971.1035) were also done about the same time. 


Lynne Anderson and Gloria Seaman Allen, Wrought with Careful Hand: Ties of Kinship on Delaware Samplers (Dover, Del.: Biggs Museum of American Art with the Sampler Consortium, 2014), 75.

Gloria Seaman Allen and Cynthia Shank Steinhoff, Delaware Discoveries: Girlhood Embroidery, 1750–1850 (Baltimore, Md.: Chesapeake Book Co. for the Biggs Museum of American Art, 2019), 289.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 183, 185-188.