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Imagining George Washington
The Boglewood Catalog
of Images Published during his Life

 

BOGLEWOOD CATALOG.   This catalog records the images of George Washington that were published before his death on 14 December 1799.  Each print is assigned a unique catalog number.  Where available, an illustration of the print is included, together with identification of the source upon which its image of Washington is based.

The catalog remains incomplete, because not all Washington engravings have been documented and some offer no clear evidence of their date.  Additions and corrections from readers are welcomed, as well as images not yet illustrated.

WASHINGTON THE CELEBRITY.  For 25 years--more than half his adult life--George Washington was the most celebrated figure in the world.  The fame created a huge demand for pictures of him.  Artists and engravers responded by creating dozens of images of the man. 

Some of the images are fictional inventions, but most of them are based directly or indirectly on one of the oil paintings, watercolors or drawings which Washington posed for during his life.

 

WASHINGTON THE SITTER. Washington became a willing sitter for artists, a fact he commented on with amusement (in a letter to Francis Hopkinson, 16 May 1785):

"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 is a proof among many others, of what habit and custom can effect.  At first I was as impatient at the request, and as restive under the operation, as a colt is of the saddle.  The next time I submitted very reluctantly, but with less flouncing; now, no dray moves more readily to the Thill [hitching shaft], than I do to the Painter's Chair."

Washington ultimately sat for more than two dozen artists, several of them more than once.  The resulting likenesses were then often used by the artists to create multiple portraits, sometimes in variations on the original pose.  Those portraits were in turn copied by other artists and by many printmakers. 

The Artists and Master Sources

Here are the likenesses (organized by artist) which have been identified as sources for images of George Washington which were published before his death.
Click the portrait image for a description of the portrait and for
links to the prints based upon it.

Artist:  Charles Willson Peale
 

1772
Peale 1787 [Type D]
Artist:  Pierre Eugene du Simitière
 
1779
       
Artist:  John Trumbull
 
1780

1792
     
 
1785
       
Artist:  Joseph Wright
 
1790
       
 
1790
     
Artist:  Walter Robertson
 


1795

       
 

1796 ["Athenaeum"]
 
 
1775
     
           
           
                             

© 2014-2015 Boglewood Company/C. I. G.