William Randolph III of Wilton, c. 1755
John Wollaston lavished considerable attention on this half-length portrait of his greatest Virginia patron, the builder of Wilton. The canvas is crisply painted in all details and richly modeled with color and light, so that the sitter is credibly projected as a living being. Rarely in Wollaston's Virginia work is the illusion and the quality of detail so complete. Vivid flesh tones project as those of the thirty-two-year-old sitter. The gray hair of his wig seems remarkably soft and smooth; the fabric of the coat, vest, and shirt reads as true as the brass of the buttons.
William Randolph III (1723–1761) inherited "all [his father's] Plate & Household Goods.” To house those objects, he commissioned one of the grandest Georgian mansions in Virginia. At this home, Wilton, he greatly expanded the family portrait collection into one of the finest and largest in all the colonies.