Nelly Parke Custis


Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis

James Sharples, Artist
Pastel on Paper

Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis was the granddaughter of Martha Washington. She lived at Mount Vernon, in New York City, and in Philadelphia before moving to Mount Vernon permanently in 1799. That year, she married George Washington’s nephew, Lawrence Lewis.

Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association


Eleanor “Nelly” Parke Custis, Maker

Nelly Custis attended a school operated by Isabella Graham in New York City. Here, she took a variety of classes, including spelling, mathematics, geography, drawing, painting, embroidery and music lessons. Her education equipped her with the skills to sew this needlework, which she completed in her later life.

Museum of the American Revolution


Thomas Reeves & Son, Maker
ca. 1790 – 1797
Mahogany Box, Watercolor Paint Cakes

Custis was an avid painter. She would use this paintbox, which belonged to her, to paint a variety of watercolors, including landscapes and mourning artwork.

Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association