George Washington(1732-1799), First President of the United States
Sitter in 22 portraits
Born in Virginia, at the time a colony of Britain, Washington was the son of a planter. Despite a formal education lasting only a few years, he taught himself planting and land surveying by reading books and watching others. In 1759 he married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow with large land holdings and many slaves. In his youth he spent time as a soldier and politician. He was Commander-in-Chief of the American forces during the War of Independence, presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787 and became the first President of the United States, 1789-97. He established many of the ideals and principles of republicanism on which America has since been governed.
Explore the portrait of King George III and George Washington (NPG D48091) from all angles
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
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Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.