Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
Mezzotint, 1778
Height 13.3, width 10.8 cm


Boglewood: 1216
Hart:  NIH


Source image:
Charles Willson Peale, Type B.
Oil on canvas (1776).

His Excellency Gen Washington

Version I:  As shown. Collections: National Portrait Gallery; Archivio General Indias, Seville; The American Revolution Institute.

Notes:  This engraving of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale may be the earliest one based upon an authentic likeness of the man. The image was copied by many other artists and engravers, becoming the most influential and widely disseminated image of Washington during the years of the American Revolution. 

Washington had sat for portrait paintings by Peale on several occasions. In October 1778 Peale recorded in his diary that he had determined to prepare a mezzotint engraving of Washington and had begun the drawing for it. By November Peale had printed about 150 copies of the original engraving, but it seems to have remained a rarity throughout its history and was not recorded in Hart's extensive 1904 compendium. Perhaps the scarcity resulted from the fact that about one third of the copies were sold and exported to a Spanish merchant who had been of assistance to Washington in the Revolution. 

 See Boglewood 1228 for a Spanish engraving based on the same Peale image. 

 Sources: Eleanor H. Gustafson, "Museum Accessions," The Magazine Antiques, p. 260; Ellen McC. Clark and Jack D. Warren, Jr., "Blog: El General Washington," www.American

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