WILLIAM SHARP (1749-1824)
after John Trumbull(1756-1843)

Line engraving and etching, 1780
Height 16.8, sub-height 14.9, width 10.5, oval height 8.7, oval width 6.7 cm


Boglewood: 1708
Hart:  92

[Version I]

[Version II]

[Version III]

Source image:
J ohn Trumbull, Type A.
Oil on canvas (1780)


George Washington, / Commander in Chief of Ye Armies of ye / United States of America. / Engrav'd by W. Sharp, from an Original Picture / London. Published according to Act of Parliament Feby. 22D. 1780.  [Legend in border:  "Don't tread on me".]



























Version I:  As shown, before all lettering.  Collection:  British Museum.
Version II:  As shown.  Collections:  British Museum, New York Public Library.
Version III:  As shown, with publication changed to "Feby. 22d 1783. / by J. Stockdale Picadilly."  Collection:  Library of Congress.

Published in:  (Version I)  Charles Henry Wharton, A Poetical Epistle to his Excellency George Washington (London, 1780).  (Version II) William Jackson, Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America (London, 1783).

      Charles Henry Wharton was a Roman Catholic priest in England when he wrote his "Poetical Epistle."  The poem was first published in Annapolis in 1779 in conjunction with John Bell's Short Sketch of George Washington's Life and Character.  The volume was reprinted in London in 1780 with this engraving by Sharp. 
The London publisher originally intended the engraving to be executed by Benjamin West, based upon an earlier French engraving (presumably Boglewood 2814, published by Esnauts and Rapilly and attributed to Jean-Victor Dupin), which he had in his possession.  Indeed, Sharp seems to have adopted the cannon and flag motif from the French print. 
      However, as Wick has observed, the likeness, uniform and posture of Washington bear a strong resemblance to the Washington portrait painted by Trumbull upon his arrival in London in July 1780.  Wick speculates that the Sharp engraving actually issued later than the 22 February 1780 stated in it, and that Sharp was therefore able to incorporate elements from the Trumbull painting.

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