Anne Maria Weightman (1841-1932) was the daughter of Dr. William Weightman Sr. of Philadelphia, head of the chemical firm of Powers & Weightman, and was first married to a lawyer called Robert Jarvis Cochran Walker (1838-1903), of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on April 8, 1864. When her father died aged ninety-one, his two sons and son-in-law had all predeceased him, and his daughter therefore inherited about $60 million. On February 26, 1908 she married diplomat and author Frederic Courtland Penfield in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, which Muller-Ury attended. To celebrate her wedding she gave $1 million to charity. Before her second marriage Mrs. Anne M. Weightman Walker had commissioned Muller-Ury’s first portrait of Pope Pius X in 1907, which was first exhibited with this portrait at Knoedler’s gallery in 1908. Muller-Ury also painted her portrait alone at this time. She died on February 25, 1932.
Mrs. Richard Meirs (Miss Anne Walker Weightman) who was born on April 28, 1871, was the niece of Mrs. Robert Jarvis Cochran Walker (the former Miss Anne Maria Weightman). She was the daughter of William Weightman Jr. and his wife Sabine d’Invilliers, and was granddaughter of William Weightman Sr, who died in 1904. She married Richard Waln Meirs on October 30, 1894. They lived in Philadelphia and had three children:
a. William Weightman Meirs, born September 18, 1895 (married in 1934 to Ellen Isabel Whitman, and had two daughters Ellen Whitman Meirs born October 5, 1935 [her children were Ellen Meirs Conlin and MaryAnne Meirs Hutchinson] and Mary Whitman Meirs, born February 1, 1937);
b. Anne Walker Meirs born August 25, 1898 and died July 3, 1930 (in 1918 she became Mrs Clement Newbold Taylor, with two surviving daughters, Ann Waln Taylor born August 25, 1923 [Mrs. Robert Charlwood Richardson III, died 2009, and had three children Newbold Richardson Smith, Col. Robert C. Richardson IV USAFR, Lydia R. Cardin] and Phoebe Emlen Taylor born June 24, 1930 [Mrs. Charles Biddle II, her children are Charles J. Biddle III of South Salem, NY, Willing L. Biddle of North Salem, NY]);
c. Jarvis Weightman Meirs, born June 12, 1901 (whom Muller-Ury painted as a child).
Richard Waln Meirs, born July 26, 1866(?7), died April 20, 1917. Mrs. Meirs married again to Benjamin Rush in 1947. She died on March 24, 1958.
Painted in 1907-8. An undated letter from 1336 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, in the artist’s papers but from early 1908, reads as follows:
‘My dear Mr. Muller Ury,
I enclose cheque to your order for $7.000– and want to thank you for your splendid portrait of the two who are nearest and dearest to me.
I think the portraits excellent & the painting most artistic. I am very sorry to learn you have not been well & hope you are entirely recovered now. We are looking forward to having you with us after May 1st. Again thanking you for your splendid work, believe me
Very sincerely, RWMeirs.’
Richard Waln Meirs owned an important collection of works by the English caricaturist George Cruikshank, which is now the property of the Firestone/Rare Books Library at Princeton University. He and his wife attended the Holy Trinity church, and he gave his political allegiance to the Republican party. He was prominent in the club circles of the city of Philadelphia as a member of the University, Racquet and Princeton clubs of Philadelphia, and the Corinthian Yacht Club. He also belonged to the Metropolitan and Princeton clubs of New York.