"WASHINGTON" Classic Lansdowne Portrait Engraving
c. 1830 to 1850 Hand-Colored Original Steel Plate Engraving titled, "WASHINGTON." Famed Lansdowne Portrait, After the Painting by (Gilbert) Stuart, Engraver Unknown, Framed, Very Fine, Repaired.
Historic Engraving of "WASHINGTON," after James Heath and the artist Gilbert Stuart's original "Lansdowne Portrait" magnificent oil painting of the President. This large size choice quality Engraving measures about 19.5" x 25.5" (by sight) and is handsomely period framed under Plexiglas to overall huge size of 36.5" x 43.5". The engraver of this print and any added text is unknown as any original text printed in the margin below the image is covered by the mat and we have not removed the engraving from its frame. 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. We have located a 2003 auction record for a quite similar copy of this famous original print by Heath, selling at $2,300. This current large impressive print is even in tone, clean and handsome but for two repaired tears. There is a small 2" long paper tear at the lower right margin, and a long heavily repaired tear from the bottom edge to near the upper top right to the right of Washington in the image and nearing the top margin edge. This historic early engraving of George Washington is in a highly ornate grape vine designed mid 19th century frame which appears valuable itself, being very nice and is ready for display.
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.