Skip to main content

George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait)

George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait)
Gilbert Stuart, 3 Dec 1755 - 9 Jul 1828
George Washington, 22 Feb 1732 - 14 Dec 1799
Oil on canvas
247.6 × 158.7 cm (97 1/2 × 62 1/2")
Frame: 283.5 × 194.3 × 17.8 cm (111 5/8 × 76 1/2 × 7")
Printed Material\Book
Printed Material\Document
Interior\Interior with Exterior View
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair\Armchair
Printed Material\Papers
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Carpet
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Table\Writing table
Equipment\Drafting & Writing Implements\Writing implement\Pen\Quill
Equipment\Drafting & Writing Implements\Inkstand
Nature & Environment\Animal\Bird\Eagle
Nature & Environment\Rainbow
George Washington: Male
George Washington: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\Revolutionary War
George Washington: Politics and Government\Statesman\Colonial statesman
George Washington: Natural Resource Occupations\Agriculturist\Farmer
George Washington: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\General
George Washington: Politics and Government\President of US
George Washington: Science and Technology\Surveyor
George Washington: Congressional Gold Medal
United States\Pennsylvania\Franklin\Germantown
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
As a military and political figure, George Washington was a unifying force during the country’s formative years. He fought in the French and Indian War and later served as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. After being unanimously elected as the first president of the United States, in 1789, he installed the Supreme Court and the cabinet, quelled the Whiskey Rebellion, and defeated the Western Lakes Confederacy in the Northwest Indian War (and facilitated the subsequent peace negotiations with the alliance). Washington enjoyed immense popularity at the end of his second term, but he declined to run again, insisting that the United States needed to take proper precautions to avoid hereditary leadership or dictatorship.
While mapping out the composition for this painting, American artist Gilbert Stuart, who had previously worked in England and Ireland, drew from European traditions of state portraiture to evoke Washington’s leadership. The artist made a number of direct references to the newly formed United States, and the pose he chose for the president is believed to allude to Washington’s annual address in front of Congress in December 1795. Stuart completed several replicas of the image, which spread rapidly through popular engravings.
Como figura política y militar, George Washington fue una fuerza unificadora durante los años ormativos de la nación. Combatió en la Guerra Franco-Indígena y más tarde fue comandante en jefe del Ejército Continental en la Guerra de Independencia. Luego de su elección unánime como primer presidente de Estados Unidos, en 1789, instituyó el Tribunal Supremo y el gabinete, suprimió la Rebelión del Whiskey y derrotó a la Confederación de los Grandes Lagos en la Guerra Indígena del Noroeste (y facilitó las posteriores negociaciones de paz con la alianza). Washington gozaba de enorme popularidad al final de su segundo término presidencial, pero rehusó postularse de nuevo, insistiendo en que Estados Unidos tenía que tomar las debidas precauciones para evitar los puestos hereditarios y las dictaduras.
En la composición de esta pintura, el estadounidense Gilbert Stuart, quien había trabajado en Inglaterra e Irlanda, siguió la tradición de los retratos oficiales europeos para representar el liderato de Washington. El artista incluye referencias directas a la recién formada nación de los Estados Unidos, y la pose en que muestra al presidente parece aludir al discurso de Washington ante el Congreso en diciembre de 1795. Stuart completó varias réplicas de la imagen, que se difundió rápidamente a través de grabados populares.
Commissioned by Senator William Bingham and his wife Anne Willing Bingham as a gift for William Petty, Lord Shelburne, the first Marquess of Lansdowne (died 1805); purchased in March, 1806 at the sale of the Marquess' estate by American merchant Samuel Williams; purchased in 1827 by John Delaware Lewis; after his death in 1841, owned by his son, John Delaware Lewis; Herman LeRoy Lewis; purchased in May 1889 by Archibald Philip Primrose, fifth Earl of Rosebery; by family descent to Lord Harry Dalmeny; purchased 2001 NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
America's Presidents (Reinstallation September 2017)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 240