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

Image Sources:  Pierre Eugene du Simitière


PIERRE EUGENE du SIMITIÈRE (1737-1784), a Swiss-born artist, naturalist and collector, sailed from Europe for the Caribbean in 1757, when he was 20 years old. After years in Jamaica and other islands of the West Indies, he arrived in New York, where he became a naturalized


citizen in 1769, before settling finally in Philadelphia.

Today du Simitière is best known for his work with the committee that created the Great Seal of the United States.

[Presumed image]
Pencil on paper,
Size unknown (1779)


Washington sat for a pencil drawing by du Simitière in New York City on 1 February 1779.  The sitting was arranged by John Jay, who was then President of the Continental Congress, and lasted only about 45 minutes. 

By 16 September of that year Du Simitière had completed a group 15 pencil drawings of American military and political leaders.  On that date he delivered the drawings to the French minister Conrad Alexander Gérard, who took them with him to France to be engraved in a series of medallion-style portraits.  Two additional drawings were added on October 18.  Advertisements for the series appeared in the Mercure de France in February 1781.  Pirated editions appeared swiftly, beginning in Spain and including two editions in England.

The present-day survival of the original Du Simitière drawing of Washington is unknown.

    Prints based on du Simitière
 Boglewood 1601 sm
Boglewood 1601
Boglewood 1604 sm
Boglewood 1604

Boglewood 1608

© 2013, 2023 Boglewood Company/C. I. G.