Louisa Catherine (Johnson) Adams’ portrait was painted in Boston in 1818 by the celebrated artist Gilbert Stuart and is a mate for one of her husband executed at the same time. The picture (30” x 25”) shows that the stylishly dressed Mrs. Adams was of delicate features with light brown hair and dark brown eyes. A well-educated, “lively” and “pleasing” woman (see p. 315
), she was in many ways her young son’s ideal. Her manners, he thought, “inexpressibly delightful,” while her affections were “most powerful” (see p. 332
). When he was given the portrait in 1829 (see vol. 2:426
), Adams welcomed the gift but regretted its “sorrowful” expression (see vol. 2:430
), which reminded him that in recent years his mother, falling into despair and melancholia, had lost her pride in appearance and her former “elasticity” of spirits.