Patty Prather Thum
American, Kentucky, 1853 ‑ 1926
The Lady of the Lilies, about 1910
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 × 36 5/8 × 7/8 in. (64.8 × 93 × 2.2 cm.)
Gift of Mrs. Hattie Bishop Speed 1928.34
Patty Thum based this portrait of Mary Johnston in her garden on the photograph that hangs nearby. Mary was the stepdaughter of Annie Fellows Johnston, who wrote the popular children’s book The Little Colonel (1895) and a dozen subsequent novels, all set in Pewee Valley, Kentucky. Many of the characters in the Little Colonel series were based on Pewee Valley residents, including Mary Johnston, who was the inspiration for an artistically inclined girl with blonde hair.