In the 1780s a trio of artists began issuing fine, first hand accurate portraits of George Washington. While Charles Willson Peale and John Trumbull used their personal connections to obtain likenesses of General Washington, a Swiss artist used black lead portraits for model engravings in profile. Prevost's was published in France and was the most popular among a set of famous revolutionaries. A set was published by B.B. Ellis in London, and this example was one of a set published in Paris. A standard and great example of realist art at the time of the New Nation. $750
Noël LeMire after Jean Baptiste Le Paon. "Le Général Washington. [Ne Quid Detriment Capiat Res Publica]." Paris, 1781. Engraving by Noël LeMire. Engraving. 16 1/4 x 12 3/4. Trimmed to image at top and sides. Some old stains and scratches. Old repairs, light cracking horizontally in center. Strong impression. Overall, fine condition and appearance. Baker, 21; Cresswell, 229. Framed to archival standards.
The first of Charles Willson Peale's portraits of George Washington was painted for John Hancock in 1776. It was in the possession of Lafayette when he returned for the first time, in January 1779, to France, where he stayed until April of 1780. Noël LeMire (1724-1801) engraved this portrait based on an oil owned by Lafayette that had been painted by Jean Baptiste Le Paon. Washington's visage is definitely that of Peale's portrait, so Le Paon must have based his oil on the Peale portrait. To this he introduced elements such as the tent, the horse and servant, a military camp in the background, and the documents relating to the Revolution in the foreground. (See: Wick, George Washington. An American Icon, p. 29, fig. 17.) Issued during the Revolution, the print is the most elegant done during Washington's lifetime. It is an exquisite print that would have helped sway opinion in France toward supporting its alliance with the revolutionary forces in America. $2,400
John Trumbull. "General Washington." London: Antonio C. de Poggi, June 1796. Title in block letters. Believed second state. 25 1/2 x 17 5/8. Engraving by J. Cheesman. Upper left hand margin corner replaced with old laid paper; not affecting image. Else, very good condition. Rich impression. Hart, 104. Baker, 141 called it "rare."
Trumbull, a member of a prominent Connecticut family, was a participant in the American Revolution and a friend of most of the great figures of his day, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. After he left the army, Trumbull eventually found his way to the London studio of Benjamin West, under whom he studied, and from whom he derived an interest in historical subject matter. It was difficult to make a living from the sale of such paintings, and Trumbull realized there was a greater chance of profit to be made from selling engravings taken from the paintings. Thus he decided to proceed on such a project, testing the market in Europe and America for these prints.
This print is based on Trumbull's heroic portrait George Washington at Trenton, now at Yale University. This painting, considered the best portrait of Washington as a general, was commissioned by the city of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1792. Trumbull considered it the "best certainly of those which I painted, and the best, in my estimation, which exists, in his military character." Choosing to depict Washington in a dramatic moment of decision the evening before the surprise attack, Trumbull wrote that he intended "to give his military character, in the most sublime moment of its exertion." It shows Washington in a heroic pose, standing in front of an aide holding his rearing stallion. In the background is a vignette of a battle scene from the American Revolution. The print was engraved by J. Cheesman and published by de Poggi, who published others of Trumbull's images. It is interesting that Trumbull produced this print in London just a decade after Washington led the former colonies in revolt against Great Britain. However, as Trumbull was a friend of Washington's, having served on his staff in the war, it is not surprising that this is one of the most handsome and accurate portraits of Washington. As Trumbull was with John Jay in London in 1794, he was able to work directly with de Poggi and Cheesman, which helps explain its excellence. Wendy Wick Reaves of the U.S. National Portrait Gallery calls it "unequaled among the portraits of Washington." (George Washington. An American Icon, p. 51.) $3,500
John Trumbull. "General Washington." London: Antonio C. de Poggi, 1796. Title in script letters. Believed fourth state. 25 1/2 x 17 5/8. Engraving by J. Cheesman. Hand colored; laid on board. Else, very good condition and full margins. Hart, 104. Baker, 141 called it "rare."
This print is very similar to the one listed above, but with minor changes to the plate. $2,600
Benjamin O. Tyler. "Eulogium Sacred to the Memory of the Illustrious George Washington, Columbia's Great and Successful Son: Honored be his Name." Also, around oval portrait of Washington, "Sacred To The Memory of the Brave." New York: B.O. Tyler, 1817. Engraved by P[eter] Maverick, Newark, N. Jersey. 19 x 23 (full sheet). Condition: Printed on a fragile, thin sheet; with some subsequent tears and missing chip at right margin just into engraved surface. Print professionally conserved and backed. The image is totally intact and strong. Some skinning from the back is evident but in the unusually full margins. References: Baker, 404. Hart, 796b. Stauffer, 2232, iii.
The complexity of this dedicatory print to George Washington almost defies description. It is a most impressive exercise in penmanship and engraving by Benjamin O. Tyler, "Professor of Penmanship." A strong, stipple engraving of Washington after the Stuart portrait is in an oval which surmounts two statements which mourn his death: "Gen. George Washington departed this life Decr. 14th 1799 AE67. And the tears of a NATION watered his grave" and at the base "Washington's no more by silence grief's express'd / Lo! here he lies, his Works proclaim the rest." The portrait is flanked by Masonic symbols: a book held open by a compass and angle on the left and a shining sun on the right. The emphasis of the text appearance is calligraphy using many letters and ingenious figures of angels to express encomiums and prayers.
The story behind it tells volumes about the reputation of Washington among the American people in the first half of the nineteenth century. In his landmark article "American History in Image and Text," in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, Vol. 98, pt. 2(1988) see especially pp. 247-53, John Bidwell has shown that Benjamin Tyler's memorial was first issued at the same time as John Trumbull's famous print of the Declaration of Independence, and, indeed, it competed with it because Trumbull complained of the situation. In this third state of the memorial, Tyler added a facsimile of Washington's signature to the bottom right corner, thus appealing to the new fashion of collecting authentic signatures at that time. In this way, Tyler also aligned his print to compete with John Binns' famous print of the "Declaration of Independence" which contained facsimile signatures of all the signers. This beautiful, complex, and fascinating print expresses much about the patriotic fervor of Americans at this time. $1,600
Samuel Moore. [Apotheosis of Washington.] London(?), ca. 1830(?). "Litograph" [sic] by H. Weishaupt. "Stamped" by J.M. Hermann. 23 x 17 3/4. Good margins, with text at bottom. Repaired tears at left and right. Marginal stains. Else, very good condition.
When George Washington died, on December 14, 1799, the nation as a whole mourned his death as that of a father, as indeed Washington was for the then still young United States. The celebration of mourning throughout the country brought the people together as few events since the Revolution had. Poets, politicians, preachers, and newspapers declaimed his death in moving phrases and artists created images which tried to express the feelings which welled up in the breasts of his countrymen. One of the most potent artistic symbols was that of the 'apotheosis' of Washington, scenes of Washington ascending to heaven in all his glory. One of the most unusual and interesting of the apotheosis scenes is this early lithograph based on a painting by Samuel Moore.
The image is explicated by text at the bottom, but the image is readily understood even today. At the top, Washington is being born to heaven by the seven virtues, "the inmates of his Soul in his terrestial Pilgrimmage." Beneath, just below the American crest with its eagle, stands Columbia, "who looks up to him [Washington] as the rock of her consolation." In the foreground are shown the sixteen "Orphan States, dissolving in sorrow at his Tomb, and lamenting the departure of their adored Friend, Benefactor, and Protector." This reflects the sixteen states which were part of the United States at the time of Washington's death. This print is very rare and it is hard to date, but this image is certainly one of the most interesting and unusual Washington prints. $1,800
John I. Donlevy. "Sacred to the Memory of the Illustrious Champion of Liberty General George Washington First President of the United States of America." New York: John Donlevy, circa 1832. Engraving. 16 1/2 x 14. Wear in lower left and some minor surface blemishes. Expertly conserved and overall very good appearance. Hart: 862a; Wick, pp. 58-62.
Calligraphic illustrations were popular means for engravers to demonstrate their skill (cf. Tyler print above), and that is well evidenced by this tour-de-force by John I. Donlevy. Donlevy, who lists himself as an "Intaglio-chromographic and Electrographic Engraver," used his engraving and calligraphic skill to make this memorial image of Washington based on Stuart's "Athenaeum" painting. The face of the portrait is a straight engraving, but the rest of the bust is done with effusive swirls, and the writing giving the title, as well as Washington's dates, is done in various elaborate calligraphy styles. A nice example of a memorial for Washington and a particularly fine example of American engraving. $1,250
Leon Cogniet. "Washington." New York: James Herring, 1839. Engraving by Jean Nicolas Laugier; signed by Laugier in pencil. 24 3/4 x 20 3/4. Very good condition. Baker: 417.
A handsome print of Washington from the first half of the nineteenth century, highlighting the fashion in American culture for images of George Washington. During his life and following his death, Washington was elevated to national symbol, and his image graced every possible object from water jugs to neckerchiefs. Prints showing Washington were issued during his life-time and pretty much continuously throughout the nineteenth century. This is one of most impressive full-figure engravings produced. This portrait is especially fine, taken from Gilbert Stuart's work from the neck up, but realistically portraying Washington's stature. As his adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis, noted, Cogniet's representation was one of only two extant to capture Washington's "matchless limbs." $2,400
Alfred Newsam. "George Washington. 1st. President of the United States." Philadelphia: C.W. Williams, 1846. Ca. 10 1/2 x 9. Lithograph by P.S. Duval. Original hand color. Very good condition.
A handsome portrait from a rare series of "Portraits of the Presidents." The publisher of this series was C.W. Williams, who used two of the most important figures in early American lithography, Alfred Newsam and P.S. Duval. Alfred Newsam, a deaf mute, began work as a lithographic artist almost two decades before working for Cephas G. Childs, a Philadelphia engraver and print publisher. Newsam was particularly noted for his portraits, including all the earliest images for the McKenney & Hall series of Indian portraits. In 1831, Childs formed a partnership with Henry Inman, at which time he went to Europe to learn more about lithography, which was still in its early stages. Childs came back with P.S. Duval, to help run the Childs & Inman presses. This was perhaps Childs' most significant contribution to American lithography, for Duval was to become one of the foremost lithographers in the country and the world. The quality of the work of both Newsam and Duval is evident in this fine portrait, which is finely drawn, lithographed, and colored. The image is surrounded by an elaborate border, indicating that Williams wanted his series to stand out from the plainer prints issued by his competitors. His strategy does not appear to have been very successful, as the scarcity of these images indicates not that many were sold. $575
"Washington Crossing the Delaware. On the Evening previous to the Battle of Trenton Dec. 25th. 1776." Credit reads, "Lith. G & Pubd. By J. Baillie 118 Nassau St. N.Y." Peters' America on Stone locates this firm at 118 Nassau Street from 1845 to 1847. Lithograph (hand coloring). Small folio 8 1/4 x 12 1/2 (image) plus full margins. Bright.
The most famous battle art picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware that was produced in paintings (beginning in 1851) and prints was by Emanuel Leutze and multiplied in many engravings and lithographs showing the father of his country standing heroically in a boat. Much less is known that Thomas Sully (1783-1872), best known for portraits of famous people and his own family, attempted to produce a large picture of "Washington's Passage of the Delaware" for the North Carolina legislature in 1818. It was too large for the space planned being seventeen by twelve feet, and the project failed. Still, images of Sully's design were copied and reproduced, and this is one that was printed a little more than twenty years afterward. The American army, horses, and ordinance depart for the far shore and New Jersey. A heroic piece. $475
"Washington's Reception by the Ladies on the Bridge at Trenton, New Jersey, April 1789. On his way to New-York to be Inaugurated First President of the United States." New York: J. Baillie, 1848. 12 x 8 5/8. Chips at edges of margins. Professionally conserved.
A festive depiction of Washington's reception in Trenton as he travelled north to New York for his Inauguration in 1789. $325
After Gilbert Stuart. "G. Washington." Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1852. 22 3/4 x 18 (Image) plus full margins 27 3/4 x 22 1/2. Engraving by Thomas B. Welch. Printed by A.E. Lent in Philadelphia. Fine printing that has survived in excellent condition.
A large engraving taken after Stuart's Boston Athenaeum painting. The engraving by Welch has a soft, heroic feel which makes this an interesting example of the popular prints of Washington that began appearing at an accelerated rate in the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1850s many images of George Washington were used as part of pleas to continue a united nation while partisan differences continued to aggravate government in the North and the South. $1,200
Junius Brutus Stearns. "Life of George Washington. [The Christian.]" New York: M. Knoedler, 1853. 18 1/4 x 24 1/2. Lithograph by Regnier. Printed in Paris. Narrow margins top and sides, and bottom margin with short repaired tear and with sub-title trimmed off. Otherwise, very good condition.
Another of the prints from Stearns' series, this shows the final hours of Washington's life. Washington's family and friends gather at his bedside, Washington preparing himself for death with an equanimity founded in his knowledge that he had lived his life well and honorably. $325
F.O.C. Darley. "Washington's Adieu to His Generals." Steel engraving by George R. Hall. 17 3/4 x 24 (image) plus text. Probably New York, 1860. Some of bottom margin trimmed. Margins top and sides but within platemarks.
This spirited depiction of Washington leaving New York amid the cheers and waves of his officers and men would represent the events of 4 December 1783. Washington took leave of his generals at Fraunces Tavern within the city, and this scene would have followed the monumental event. The scene shows him en route to Annapolis where Congress was meeting, and to whom he then surrendered his commission later that month. Darley's idealized depictions of American sailors coupled with the enthusiastic officers (one weeps) on shore is typical of the sentiments expressed in Washington Irving's Life of George Washington which was first published in 1855 and was repeatedly printed in subsequent editions. $850
John Faed. [Washington Receiving a Salute on the Field of Trenton]. "Go. Washington." [facsimile signature]. Ca. 1860. Steel engraving by William Holl. 23 1/2 x 17 1/2 (image) plus full margins. Perhaps proof before title. Fine condition. Eisen, II, 554.
John Faed (1820-1902) was a prominent English painter who made several portraits of Washington in the course of which he modified the face using both Trumbull and Stuart. This strong image of Washington on a charger, reviewing the troops, is a wonderful portrait with exquisite landscape. Eisen says that the engraver is "Hall" and that he worked for the Kendall Bank Note Company in New York at 285 Broadway during the nineteenth century. We doubt that the engraver misspelled his own name, so this print is done by William Holl (1807-1871) who worked with portraiture in London. $1,650
William E. Marshall after Gilbert Stuart. "G. Washington." New York: W.E. Marshall, 1862. 13 3/8 x 11 1/4. Steel engraving by W.E. Marshall. Very good condition.
An excellent engraving of George Washington by William E. Marshall, based on the famous oil portrait in the Boston Athenaeum by Gilbert Stuart. Marshall was well known for his superb portrait of Lincoln, issued in 1866, and for his equally fine engraving of Grant issued a few years later. Those prints were perhaps inspired in part by this excellent portrait of Washington. It was issued as a subscriber's print for The Christian Union, a newspaper published by J.B. Ford & Co. One of the best mid-nineteenth century portraits of the first president by an artist who would later produce what is often considered the best contemporary portrait of the 16th president. $600
"Washington and Lincoln. The Father And The Saviour Of Our Country." New York: Currier & Ives, 1865. Lithograph. Medium folio; 15 x 11. Some old stains, but overall very good condition. C:6510.
Currier & Ives, "America's Printmakers," issued many prints on current political and social themes, and during the Civil War these included a large number with a pro-Union bent. This is one of the best examples of that genre, a print showing George Washington shaking the hand of Abraham Lincoln before the eternal flame of Liberty. This tied together the "Father of his Country" with the President trying to preserve that country, as a Union and as the support of liberty throughout the world. $750
Daniel F. Huntington. "Lady Washington's Reception." New York: Emil Seitz, ca. 1865. 21 1/2 x 35. Engraving by A.H. Ritchie. Strong impression. Hand color. Faint stain upper right margin corner not affecting image. Print has been professionally conserved. Else, very good condition. Very good condition. Ref: Karal Ann Marling, George Washington Slept Here, 1988.
A superb engraving of Daniel F. Huntington's painting, "The Republican Court in the Time of Washington, or Lady Washington's Reception Day." This painting by the president of the National Academy of Design was designed to show not one particular reception, but rather to be a representative tableau of the Friday evening "teas" held by Martha throughout her husband's term. The scene is filled with symbolism representing the august status conferred on Martha and George in the mid-nineteenth century. The elegance of the surroundings, the richness of the dress of those at the reception, and the formality of the situation and poses all recall a scene from any of the royal courts of Europe in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, it was likely the depicted refinement of the costumes and the obvious high status accorded to these American socialites that most explains the popularity of Huntington's canvas and this elaborate print.
This engraving was a subscription print produced with the intent of generating a profit based on the popularity of the painting. In the nineteenth century, artists were often able to make more money from the sale of prints after their paintings than from the original canvases. Huntington clearly hoped he would benefit in this way, and the public exhibition of the painting in New York City during the fall of 1865 was precisely designed to achieve this end. Huntington hired a superior craftsman to render his image in steel. A.H. Ritchie, the engraver, was one of the best historical printmakers of the mid-nineteenth century. He is particularly known for the clarity and richness of his engravings, and this fine image is an excellent example of his work. The costumes, faces, and architecture are precisely and richly engraved. The merit of this print as an excellent example of historic printmaking from the last century is equaled by its value in depicting how George and Martha Washington were accorded an exalted status in the years following the Civil War. $1,200
Rembrandt Peale. "Patriae Pater." Philadelphia: Hugh A. McCann, ca. 1865? 19 x 15 1/8. Engraving by Adam B. Walter. Good margins. On India paper and mounted, as issued. With repaired tears. Ca. 1 x 2 inch semicircle replaced in facsimile from right side of image. Still, very good condition image and appearance.
An excellent engraving after one of Rembrandt Peale's paintings of George Washington. From an early age when he watched his father, Charles Wilson Peale, paint portraits of Washington, Rembrandt venerated the General. He painted several portraits himself and spent much of his later life lecturing on Washington and his portraits. This image of Washington shows his bust within an oval opening of stone, with a carved wreath. The keystone of the opening has an antique head, and below, also carved in the stone, is the title, "Patriae Pater." Below the image is a dedication to General U.S. Grant, likely dating this engraving to shortly after the Civil War. The likeness of Washington is excellent, not surprising given that Washington sat for Rembrandt on several occasions. With is superior engraving, strong imagery, and artistic quality, this is a fine print of Washington. $900
"Declaration of Independence in Congess July 4th: 1776." Subtitle: "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America." Curving around the bottom, "The Great Centennial Memorial." Two portraits: full length of Washington in center and bust of Thomas Jefferson at base. At the base of the grapevine surround are a pair of quill pens with the credit reading, "The Original Designed and Executed by Gilman R. Russell Prof. of Penmanship." Between the portraits is the copyright notice of 1866 entered by Gilman Russell in the District Court of the East Dist. of Pennsylvania." Lithograph. 25 3/4 x 17 3/4 (full sheet). Deckle edge on all four sides of the sheet. Not in Bidwell.
Printed in the year after the end of the American Civil War, this profound copy among many of the Declaration of Independence is beautiful in design and thought. Featuring both Washington and Jefferson in portraiture, angels and flags along the top and celebratory grapevines around the bottom encircling credit to Gilman R. Russell, who was a professor of Penmanship. During the War Prof. Russell had created another folio sheet to celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation. $4,500
After Gilbert Stuart. "Washington." Philadelphia: William Smith, ca. 1865-76. Tinted lithograph. 26 1/2 x 22 (full sheet). Excellent condition.
A bust portrait of George Washington based on paintings by Gilbert Stuart. A fine image of Washington whose memory was used to keep the United States together during the crises of the 1850s, during the Civil War, and through the Reconstruction Period. George Washington was a plantation owner, had slaves, and was a Southerner, but he was also a Federalist who wanted a strong central government and a balance of power among the branches of government. A portrait such as this would have hung in homes and offices and especially in schools. $350
A fine image of Washington with Martha and the Custis grandchildren. $225
The Currier & Ives print is a loose rendering of the Edward Savage painting, "The Washington Family." The family, consisting of the Custis grandchildren, George and Martha, sits in an apparent geography lesson with both a map and globe in view. The servant William Lee looks on from behind Mrs. Washington. $750
One of several Currier prints on this subject, this one has five keys indicating that the characters depicted by the General's bedside are a "Quaker, an intimate friend of Washington," a "Physician," "Lady Washington," and her two "Grand-children," and several "Domestics," at the entry to the room and behind Mrs. Washington. $525
"George Washington." Hartford and New York: E.B. and E.C. Kellogg, and Buffalo: D. Needham, 1847. 11 1/4 x 8 1/2. Original hand color. Very good condition. Stock number 320. $375
Peter F. Rothermel. "G. Washington." Originally published in New York by R. A. Bachia, 1852. Restrike published in New York by Fishel, Adler & Schwartz, ca. 1890. 26 3/8 x 19 5/8. Mezzotint by A.H. Ritchie. Large margins. Tear in right margin, just into image. Faint mat burn in margins. Wear just below image in bottom margin, else, very good condition.
A fascinating, monumental full length portrait of Washington based on Gilbert Stuart's original visage and James Heath's engraved setting, with the accouterments much enhanced by P.F. Rothermel. The mezzotint technique applied to steel here renders a rich texture to the sitter's velvet suit while symbols of his achievement-the pillar of stability, the curtain of elegance, books for learning, fine furniture for decorative arts, and age cracks in a classical floor-all proclaim his importance. In the decade prior to the American Civil War many portraits of Washington were produced to inspire Americans to keep the union together. The first president was a southerner, an agrarian, and a slave holder, but overall he was a Federalist. A fine, strong print. $725
Gilbert Stuart. [George Washington]. Philadelphia: M. Rosenthal, 1904. 17 x 13. Mezzotint printed in colors by Max Rosenthal. Signed in plate by the engraver. Edition: 15. Very good condition.
A handsome mezzotint portrait by Philadelphia artist/etcher Max Rosenthal. Rosenthal (1833-1918), born in Russian Poland, studied lithography in Paris at 13, and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1849 or 1850. An active lithographer working with his brothers Louis, Morris and Simon, he also taught mezzotint engraving and oil painting in his later years. Rosenthal also issued a number of large attractive portraits in the early twentieth century such as this mezzotint which is after a painting by Gilbert Stuart. $425
Etchings from the portfolio "The Bicentennial Pageant of George Washington." George Washington Memorial Association, 1932. Plates printed by Henry E. Carling, London, England. Edition 1000. Plates cancelled. Paper watermarked "GW" in circle at lower right, with Washington's coat of arms (shield, crown, and eagle) at upper left. Very good condition.
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