George Washington

Artist: Charles Willson Peale (American, Chester, Maryland 1741–1827 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Date: ca. 1777

Medium: Watercolor on ivory

Dimensions: 1 1/2 x 1 3/8 in. (3.8 x 3.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of William H. Huntington, 1883

Accession Number: 83.2.122


An artist, inventor, scientist, author, and museum founder, Peale was an accomplished portraitist in oil and watercolor on ivory; the latter skill he honed while studying in London during the late 1760s. Among his claims to greatest fame were his many portraits of George Washington, who sat for him in 1779, when Washington was at the height of his powers as the leader of the American Revolutionary forces. Peale painted a monumental portrait for the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and then proceeded to execute many replicas, in full-length, half-length, and miniature. His brother, James Peale (31.118), also helped by copying the image.