Ruth Perkins Safford, 82, an artist who painted pictures of interiors of buildings, died Aug. 20 at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home of cardiopulmonary failure.

Mrs. Safford did "portraits" of rooms in some of the most famous houses in America, including the Custis-Lee Mansion in Arlington National Cemetery, Hyde Park, the home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Wakefield, the birthplace of George Washington. Her work was exhibited in Washington, Boston and elsewhere in the United States.

Her career began one day about 1935 when a small picture she did came to the notice of Andrew W. Mellon, the donor of the National Gallery of Art. Mellon pronounced the picture "excellent" and Mrs. Safford was encouraged to go on with her specialty.

Mrs. Safford was born in Boston and earned a bachelor's degree in education at the Massachusetts School of Art. She later was supervisor of art in the public schools of Medford, Mass.

She married Laurance Frye Safford, a Navy captain, and accompanied to various posts in the United States. They later made their home in Washington and spent their summers in Blue Hill, Maine. Capt. Safford died in 1973.

Mrs. Safford, who had been at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing home for the last five years, left no immediate survivors.