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John Laurens

John Laurens
Artist
Charles Willson Peale, 15 Apr 1741 - 22 Feb 1827
Sitter
John Laurens, 28 Oct 1754 - 27 Aug 1782
Date
1780
Type
Painting
Medium
Watercolor on ivory
Dimensions
Ivory: 3.8 x 2.9cm (1 1/2 x 1 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired with the generous support of an anonymous donor. Conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.2009.111
Exhibition Label
Born Charleston (formerly Charles Town), South Carolina
Serving as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington, John Laurens demonstrated bravery, even recklessness, in battle. Taken prisoner in May 1780, he commissioned this tiny portrait in Philadelphia following his parole, probably as a memento for his wife, who was living in England with their young daughter. In 1781, Laurens obtained France’s commitment to station a fleet off the American coast, enabling Washington’s army to defeat the British forces at Yorktown.
Provenance
(Neal Auction Company, New Orleans, 21 and 22 November 2009, lot 229); purchased 2009 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection