George Washington (1732-1799)

Date: 1772

George Washington was the son of Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He married Martha Dandrige Custis and lived at Mount Vernon.

References: “I am now contrary to all expectation under the hands of Mr. Peale; but in so grave–so sullen a Mood–and now and then under the influence of Morpheus, when some critical strokes are making, that I fancy the skill of this Gentleman’s Pencil, will be put to it, in describing to the World what manner of Man I am.–I have no doubt of Mr. Peale’s meeting with very good Incouragement in a Tour to Williamsburg, for having mentioned him to some Gentlemen at our Court, they seem desirous of employing him in his way down.” George Washington to Jonathan Boucher, 21 May 1772

Diary entries:
“In the Evening Mr. Peale and J.P. Custis came to Mount Vernon,” 18 May 1772
“I returned home in the afternoon…Also found Mr. Peale and J.P. Custis,” 19 May 1772
“I sat to have my Picture drawn,” 20 May 1772
“I set again to take the Drapery,” 21 May 1772
“Set for Mr. Peale to finish my face. In the afternoon Rid with him to my Mill,” 22 May 1772
“At home all day. Mr. Ben Dulany, & Mr. Peale dined here,” 26 May 1772,

Account book: “By Mr Peale Painter, Drawg my Picte £18.4.0,” also paid for miniatures of wife and stepchildren, Cash Accounts, May 1772

Dimensions: 50 1/2 x 41 1/2 in. (128.27 x 105.41 cm.)

The subject stands outdoors wearing a Virginia militia uniform of a blue jacket with silver trim and buttons over a red waistcoat with silver trim and buttons, and red pants, along with a pink sash, a silver gorget, and a hat with a cockade. “Orders of March” are tucked into his waistcoat pocket. A sword is on his left hip. A rifle is visible behind his back. His right hand is gloved and tucked into his waistcoat and his left hand is behind his back. He stands in front of a rocky outcropping and a landscape is visible to his right, including a waterfall, water, and tipis.

See: The Papers of George Washington Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel, et al. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007-); Charles Coleman Sellers, “Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 42 (1952): 217-219; Encyclopedia Virginia; Janine Yorimoto Boldt, “The Portrait of Hanadagá•yas; or, George Washington Reconsidered,” American Art (Summer 2022): 6-12.

Family: Washington
Decade: 1770s
Credits: Courtesy of Washington & Lee University, University Collections of Art and History, U1897.1.1.