General Washington

MAKER:
Engraver

Valentine Green ( British, 1739 - 1813 )


Artist

Thomas Stothard ( British, 1755 - 1834 )


Artist

Charles Willson Peale ( American, 1741 - 1827 )

DATE:
1785
more object details

General Description

George Washington sat for Charles Wilson Peale on seven occasions over a period of 23 years. This print is based on Peale's first full length portrait of Washington executed in 1779 representing Washington at the Battle of Princeton and was commissioned by the Supreme Executive Committee of Pennsylvania. At the General's feet are the flags of the conquered armies. The painting was an enormous success, and to answer the demand for copies, Peale sent the image to England to be engraved. There Thomas Stothard, a British draftsman, made a drawing of Peale's work that was used by Valentine Green for his mezzotint, an arduous printing process resulting in rich, velvety blacks that was fashionable in the second half of the 18th century. Stothard used some artistic license in his drawing, eliminating an aide, a horse, and significantly, the British flag lying as a trophy on the ground.

Adapted from

  • DMA Unpublished material

  • Two Centuries of Prints in America 1680-1880: A Selective Catalogue of the Winterthur Museum Collection, E. McSherry Fowble University of Virginia, Charlottesville, p 131

Fun Facts

  • George Washington disliked sitting for portraits so copies of the few portraits made from life was a popular business.