Recent Acquisition: Painting of Marion Safford Oates Charles and Robert Charles

September 11, 2020

Painting of Marion Safford Oates Charles (Oatsie) and Robert Charles in their parlor, circa 1980. 2020.008, NHS Collection.

The Newport Historical Society recently received a donation of a portrait of Marion Safford Oates Charles (1919-2018) and her husband Robert Charles (1913-2000). The portrait depicts Oatsie and Robert sitting in their parlor circa 1980. They married in 1968 and were central figures in the Newport social scene, splitting time between Georgetown and Newport. For years she lived at Land’s End, the estate once owned by famed novelist Edith Wharton. Towards the end of her life, she remodeled and moved to an eight-car garage on the property.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, she was the granddaughter of William C. Oates, governor of Alabama 1894-1896. After completing school, she settled in New York. Oatsie was known for a wide circle of acquaintances and friends, including President John F. Kennedy, James Bond novelist Ian Fleming and first lady Nancy Reagan.

The Newport Historical Society thanks Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthews V. Hamilton Jr. for the generous donation of this piece of Newport’s history.