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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

George Washington (1732-1799), First President of the United States

By 1785 Washington declared that 'I am so hackneyed to the touches of the Painter's pencil, that I am now altogether at their beck, and sit like Patience on a monument, whilst they are delineating the lines of my face'. It was only to get worse for him.

The outstanding likenesses of Washington are those by Houdon of 1785 and Stuart of 1796, but the complete iconography of Washington is a formidable study. In 1904 Hart (C. H. Hart, Catalogue of the Engraved Portraits of Washington, 1904) recorded over 700 engraved portraits and in 1931 Morgan & Fielding (J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931) listed more than 500 painted portraits of varying distinction. The following list is confined to prime versions.

1772
Painting by C. W. Peale, standing three-quarter length in the Virginia militia uniform (blue coat with scarlet facings). Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.24). Engraved R. Scot c.1780. C. W. Peale is said to have made ‘more than fifty’ portraits of Washington in the 1770s and 1780s (E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, NPG Washington, 1999, p 39).

In 1775 Washington was made 'General and Commander in chief of the army of the United Colonies'; the War of Independence lasted until 1783. He was now portrayed in the ‘Continental’ uniform, dark blue coat with buff facings and gold epaulettes, buff waistcoat, blue sash and white knee breeches.

1776
Painting by C. W. Peale, three-quarter length standing in uniform (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.26). Brooklyn Museum of Art.

1777
Miniature by C. W. Peale, in uniform. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.46). Another belongs to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

1779
Painting by C. W. Peale, the ‘Continental type’, whole length standing in uniform, his left hand on a cannon, after the Battle of Princeton. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (1943.16.2). The first monumental image of Washington; twenty-three versions listed in J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, pp 27-34.

Profile drawing by P-E. du Simitière (c.1736-84) engraved B-L. Prévost (illus. W. C. Wick, George Washington An American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 1982, p 25).

In 1780 Washington ordered that the sash be eliminated from the military uniform and three stars were substituted for rosettes on the epaulettes.

1780
Painting by John Trumbull, small whole-length standing in uniform, hat in left hand. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (24.109.88), Painted from memory in London where engraved V. Green 1781. The first authoritative portrait of Washington to be seen in Europe, it was soon copied throughout the Continent.

After his final victory in the war of independence in 1783, Washington retired to Mount Vernon.

1783
Pastel by William Dunlap, half length in uniform. Capitol, Washington DC (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.66).

Painting by Joseph Wright, half length in uniform. Historical Society of Pennsylvania (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.70). In 1783 Wright also took a plaster mould or life mask and made a (now untraced) clay bust (M. H. Fabian, Joseph Wright, American Artist, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1985, pp 93-9).

1784
Painting by Joseph Wright, three-quarter length, in uniform. Massachusetts Historical Society (illus. M. H. Fabian, Joseph Wright, American Artist, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1985, p 103). Painted for Thomas Jefferson.

Painting by C. W. Peale, whole-length standing in uniform, a sword in his right hand. Princeton University (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.34).

Painting by C. W. Peale, whole-length standing in uniform, with Lafayette and Col. Tilghman at Yorktown. State House, Annapolis, Md. (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.36).

c.1784
Wax medallions by Joseph Wright, laureate bust to right, reduced from the plaster relief of 1783 with the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (illus. M. H. Fabian, Joseph Wright, American Artist, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1985, p 109, and see pp 111, 113). The medallion apparently provided the basis for Wright’s profile etching of 1790 (illus. M. H. Fabian, Joseph Wright, American Artist, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1985, p 127) which was widely copied in prints, medallions and medals (including one of the four Wedgwood medallions, illus. R. Reilly and G. Savage, Wedgwood the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 332; see W. C. Wick, George Washington An American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 1982, p 102).

1785-86
Painting by R. E. Pine, half length, in uniform. Mrs Rolla D. Campbell jr in 1979 (illus. R. G. Stewart, Robert Edge Pine, A British Portrait Painter in America 1784-88, 1979, p 95). Stewart describes two replicas and a pastel copy by the painter's daughter Jane (R. G. Stewart, Robert Edge Pine, A British Portrait Painter in America 1784-88, 1979, pp 92-97).

1785-92
Marble statue by J-A. Houdon, standing in uniform, with fasces and ploughshare. Richmond, Va., Capitol (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.110; H. H. Arnason, Houdon, 1975, pls.98-101). Commissioned by the State of Virginia, completed in 1792 and erected in 1796. Later bronze casts are at Versailles and in front of the National Gallery, London.

Houdon took a life mask and modelled a bust at Mount Vernon in October 1785; terracotta busts of 1785 with the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and of 1786 in the Louvre (H. H. Arnason, Houdon, 1975, pls.97a, 97b); a plaster, given by Houdon to Thomas Jefferson, is in the Boston Athenaeum (H. H. Arnason, Houdon, 1975, fig.154).
The many busts of this pattern (in terracotta, plaster, marble, and probably bronze), differ in detail in their Roman costume or the hair (see H. H. Arnason, Houdon, 1975, pp 72-77, figs.154-57; . H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, pp 96-111).

1787
Painting by C. W. Peale, bust length, in uniform. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.38). Copied by James Peale on a larger canvas with additional figures (Independence Hall, Philadelphia; illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.126, and New York Public Library) and this, in turn, was adapted many times by his nephew, C. P. Polk who, though he received no sittings, had composed fifty portraits of Washington by 1790 (see E. G. Miles, American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, pp 135-37; J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, pp 118-21), including the ‘Princeton’ portrait, three-quarter length in uniform with a view of Nassau Hall (now Princeton College) in the background (National Gallery Washington (1947.13.1).

In 1789 Washington was elected first President of the United States. It was also in this year that he lost his teeth and the artificial ones he was given answered ‘very imperfectly the purpose for which they were intended; a marked change occurred in the appearance of his face, more especially in the projection of the under lip. (G. W. Parke Curtis; H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, p XX).

1789
Painting by Christian Güllager, bust-length painted oval. Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, Mass. (illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 22).

Miniature by John Ramage, in uniform. Mr & Mrs E. G. Nicholson in 1999. Drawn for Mrs Washington in October 1789 (illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 18).

1790
Painting by Edward Savage, half-length painted oval in uniform. Harvard University, who commissioned the portrait in 1789 (illus. E. G. Miles, American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, p 148; E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 22). For Josiah Quincy this was ‘the best likeness he had ever seen of Washington, though its merits as a work of art are but small’ (E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 50).

Painting by John Trumbull, whole length in uniform standing by his horse. City Hall, New York (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.166). Washington sat to Trumbull between February and July 1790 ‘for my Picture in his Historical pieces’, viz. The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, The Battle of Princeton and the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis (all Yale University Art Gallery).

c.1790
Miniature signed WP, in uniform. Buccleuch Collection (illus. D. Foskett, A Dictionary of British Miniature Painters, 1972, II, pl.261, no.642).

1791-95
Bust by Giuseppe Ceracchi (see U. Desportes, Art Quarterly, XXVI, 1963, pp 141-77). He received a sitting from Washington in 1791 and produced a number of busts all'antica, differing in detail, some on a colossal scale, as the terracotta in the musée de Nantes (illus. D Evans, The Genius of Gilbert Stuart, 1999, p 65). A life-size marble bust dated 1795, declined by Washington, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 14).

1791
Miniature by Archibald Robertson, wearing light-brown coat. New York Historical Society (1929.35; illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 27).

1792
Painting by John Trumbull, whole length in uniform standing by his horse at Trenton. Yale University Art Gallery (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.168; H. A. Cooper, John Trumbull, exhibition catalogue, Yale University Art Gallery, 1982, p 121). A similar figure, but with a different background, was painted by Trumbull the same year for the Council Chamber, Charleston City Hall (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.170).

by 1793
Painting by Edward Savage, three-quarter length seated. Art Institute of Chicago (illus. E. G. Miles, American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, p 151; J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.176). Engraved E. Savage 1793. Savage used the same head in his Washington Family of 1789-96 (National Gallery Washington, 1940.1.2; engraved E. Savage 1798; illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 48).

1793
Miniature by John Ramage, in uniform. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (illus. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.140). Engraved H. H. Houston c.1796.

Painting by John Trumbull, half length. Yale University Art Gallery (illus. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.172).

1794
Painting by William Williams, half length with the regalia and jewels of a Master Mason. Alexandria-Washington Lodge, Alexandria, Va. (illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 31). In 1793 Washington’s Lodge commissioned Williams to ‘Paint him as he is’; the portrait shows a scar on the left cheek, a black mole under the right ear and small-pox scars on his nose and cheeks.

Miniature by Walter Robertson, in uniform. Cincinnati Art Museum (illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 35). Another in the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, La. Engraved R. Field 1795 (illus. W. C. Wick, George Washington An American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, 1982, p 110). A miniature version by Robert Field sold Christie’s, 20 February 1973, lot 80.

Painting by A. U. Wertmüller, half length. Philadelphia Museum of Art (illus. E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 33).

1795
Painting by Rembrandt Peale, bust length. Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (illus. L. B. Miller, In Pursuit of fame: Rembrandt Peale, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1992, p 33; E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 11). Engraved D. Edwin 1800. Peale painted ten copies, the last in 1859 (J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, p 374).

Painting by C. W. Peale, half length. New-York Historical Society (1867.299; illus. L. B. Miller, In Pursuit of fame: Rembrandt Peale, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1992, p 33; E. Miles, George and Martha Washington, Portraits from the Presidential Years, 1999, p 37).

Painting by Gilbert Stuart, the Vaughan portrait, see NPG 2041. Two early replicas in the National Gallery Washington (1942.8.27; E. G. Miles, American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, pp 201-08) another in the the Frick Collection (18.1.112); first engraved T. Holloway 1798 (W. C. Wick, George Washington An American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, p 59). On 20 April 1795 Stuart listed orders he had received for thirty-nine copies (see H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, pp 227, 250-59).

1796
Painting by Gilbert Stuart, the Athenaeum portrait, see NPG 2041.

Painting by Gilbert Stuart, the Lansdowne or ‘Teapot’ portrait, whole-length standing, see under NPG 2041. NPG Washington (2001.13). Autograph replicas in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. First engraved by J. Heath (in London) 1800 (illus. W. C. Wick, George Washington An American Icon, Smithsonian Institution, p 61). The many copies include one in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, and miniatures by Henry Bone in the Gilbert collection (illus. S. Coffin & B. Hofstetter, The Gilbert Collection, Portrait Miniatures in Enamel, 2000, no.14) and the Holburne Museum, Bath; Bone’s preparatory drawings, two dated 1800 and one 1825, in the NPG Bone albums (R. Walker, 'Henry Bone's Pencil Drawings in the National Portrait Gallery', Wal. Soc., LXI, 1999, nos.535-37, fig.160).

c.1796
Painting by Edward Savage, half length in black coat. National Gallery Washington (1960.3.1; illus. E. G. Miles, American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1995, p 159).

c.1797
Pastel by James Sharples, see NPG 174 and NPG 2903.

1798
Crayon drawing by C-B-J-F. de Saint-Mémin, bust length in military coat. J. Carsen Brevoort, Brooklyn, before 1931 (illus. J. H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, f.p.418). Said to be the last portrait taken from the life.

Posthumous (pre-1845)
‘Charles Sumner once remarked that to produce a faithful likeness of George Washington was the noblest project an American sculptor could undertake’ (J. S. Ramirez, American Figurative Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1986, pp 9-10).

1800
Painting by Gilbert Stuart, the ‘Munro-Lenox’ portrait, whole length standing, see NPG 2041 and NPG 774. New York Public Library. Replicas were dispatched to the State Houses at Hartford, Conn., and Providence and Newport R. I. in 1801 (H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, pp 265-69, nos.24-27).

c.1800-10
Marble bust by an unidentified artist. NPG Washington (75.20).

1804
Miniature by R. W. Satchwell, exhibited RA 1804 (801).

1806
Painting Gilbert Stuart, whole length in uniform, standing by white horse, at Dorchester Heights, see NPG 2041. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass.

1807
Miniature by Ellen Sharples, exhibited RA 1807 (851).

1812
Model of an equestrian statue by John Eckstein, exhibited Philadelphia 1812 (R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1968 ed., p 139).

1814
Painted wooden statue by William Rush, in civilian dress. Philadelphia Museum of Art, on loan from Independence Hall, Philadelphia (illus., E. B. Johnston, Original Portraits of Washington, 1882, pl.XXVIII, f.p.180.

1817-21
Marble statue by Antonio Canova, seated, as a Roman senator. Commissioned by the State of North Carolina for Raleigh. Delivered 1821 and destroyed by fire 1831. The head derived from the bust by Ceracchi (see 1791-95). Six plaster studies remain in the Gipsoteca Canoviana, Possagno (illus. Canova, opera complete, 1976, nos.301-06).

1817
Terracotta bust by William Rush, in civilian dress. Valley Forge Museum, Pa. (illus. William Rush, Philadelphia, 1937, no.38). Plaster with the New-York Historical Society; a marble copy by J. A. Beck 1856 with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and a plaster from Beck’s marble with the Museum of the Masonic Temple, Philadelphia.

1819
Bust by J. B. A. Binon, based on Stuart’s portraits (W. T. Whitley, Gilbert Stuart, 1932, pp 162-63).

1820
Sketch for a National Monument by J. C. Rossi, exhibited RA 1820 (1024).

1823
Painting by Rembrandt Peale, the ‘Pater Patriae’ or ‘Porthole’ portrait, half length to left. Capitol, Washington DC (illus. L. B. Miller, In Pursuit of fame: Rembrandt Peale, exhibition catalogue, NPG Washington, 1992, pl.18), purchased in 1832 on the centenary of Washington’s birth. Peale made ‘at least seventy-nine copies of this type of head with considerable variation in the accessories’ (H. Morgan & M. Fielding, The Life Portraits of Washington, 1931, pp 375-81).

Marble bust by J. C. Herrmann. Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (illus. The Splendor of Dresden, National Gallery Washington, 1979, p 241). Derived from the head by Canova.

c.1825?
Bust by D. A. Olivieri (R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1968, p 283, citing the Thomas Robson sale of 1835, presumably the Thomas Robinson sale, Southgate, 8-9 October 1835).

1826
Marble monument by Francis Chantrey, standing, a scroll in his right hand. State House, Boston, Mass. (A. Yarrington, I. D. Lieberman, A. Potts, M. Baker, 'An Edition of the Ledger of Sir Francis Chantrey, RA, at the Royal Academy, 1809-1941', Wal. Soc., LVI, 1994, no.102a, fig.70). Exhibited RA 1826 (1071). Commissioned by the Washington Monument Association 1819, and intended to furnish a 'a simple manly dignified statue' in contrast to Canova's ‘Roman’ monument. A plaster model in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculptures in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1992, III, no.662; Etched Reminiscences of the Models by Sir Francis Chantrey in the University Gallery, Oxford, 1847, no.11).

1832-40
Marble statue by Horatio Greenough, whole-length seated, as Zeus Olympus. NPG Washington (W. Craven, Art Quarterly, XXVI, 1963, pp 429-38). Originally placed in the Capitol in 1840, placed outside the Capitol 1843 and transferred to the Smithsonian 1908. A marble bust of in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass. (95.1385).

1834
Sketch for a statue by J. C. Rossi, exhibited RA 1834 (1047).

1838-44
Marble bust by Hiram Powers, derived from the bust by Houdon. Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Thirty-six commissions for replicas have been listed (R. P. Wunder, Hiram Powers, 1991, II, pp 207-12, 234).



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.