“WASHINGTON” Classic Lansdowne Portrait Engraving by W. L. Ormsby After the Painting by Gilbert Stuart
c. 1830 Hand-Colored Original Steel Plate Engraving titled, “WASHINGTON.” Famed Lansdowne Portrait, After James Heath and (Gilbert) Stuart, Engraved by W. L. Ormsby, Fulton Street, New York, Framed, Very Fine.
Original Historic Engraving of “WASHINGTON,” by Waterman Lilly Ormsby (1809-1883), after James Heath and the artist Gilbert Stuart’s original “Lansdowne Portrait” magnificent oil painting of the President. This choice quality Engraving measures about 14.75” x 22.5” (by sight) and is framed under glass to overall size of 22” x 30.25”. Text printed in the margin below the image reads: “Painted by Gilbert Stuart - Published by W. L. Ormsby, 116 Fulton Street N.Y. - Engd on Steel by W. L. Ormsby, N.Y.” This famous engraving of General George Washington was after the historic "Lansdowne" original oil portrait painting, is one of three famous portrait types created by America’s most important Revolutionary War era painter, Gilbert Stuart. The large, full-length original version was sent to the Marquis of Lansdowne by the wealthy Philadelphian, William Bingham. (The other two types were called the "Vaughan" and the "Athenaeum" portraits.) The "Lansdowne" likeness was first engraved in London by James Heath and published on January 1, 1800. It was then exported to and widely advertised in America.
The original painting artist, Gilbert Stuart, had planned to publish a print himself. He was furious with Heath’s copy and placed notices in newspapers in several cities (See "George Washington: An American Icon," pages 59-60). The important engraving offered here shows Washington in civilian clothes, but holding his sword, and gesturing towards a table, under which are several books, one of them his “General Orders.” The leg of the table is in the form of a fascines (bundled sticks, in this case referring to strength in unity), with an eagle at the top holding arrows in its talon. We have located a 2003 auction record for a quite similar copy of this famous original print, selling at $2,300. An impressive print that is even in tone with hand-coloring that appears very clean and handsome. Small paper tear at the lower right margin away from the printed text, repaired tears at the upper top left into the image and along the top margin edge. This historic early engraving of George Washington appears nice for display.