Ralph Wormeley V, 1763
A scholar, Ralph Wormeley V (1745–1806) matched the intellectual model of his great-grandfather, who had established the family's large library. He added to that collection of books. Sent to England to be educated, the fifth Wormeley entered Eton at age twelve. He graduated at eighteen from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, depicted in the background of this painting. Shown wearing his college gown and holding his mortarboard, Wormeley was proud of his academic accomplishment. He commissioned a canvas just as large as his father's portrait—a work that must have him impressed him as a boy at Rosegill. He even strikes a similar pose.
This portrait is impressive visual evidence of the strong bond that linked the Virginia gentry to England. The ties in this colony were closer than in others. It followed that on the occasion of the Revolution, Ralph Wormeley V, then a member of the powerful governor's council, remained staunchly loyal to England. He was arrested, examined, and confined to family land in faraway Berkeley County (now West Virginia).