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Richard Henry Lee

Artist
Charles Willson Peale, 15 Apr 1741 - 22 Feb 1827
Sitter
Richard Henry Lee, 20 Jan 1732 - 19 Jun 1794
Date
c. 1795-1805
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 75.6 x 63.8 x 3.2cm (29 3/4 x 25 1/8 x 1 1/4")
Frame: 88.3 x 75.6 x 5.4cm (34 3/4 x 29 3/4 x 2 1/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Duncan Lee and his son, Gavin Dunbar Lee
Object number
NPG.74.5
Exhibition Label
On June 7, 1776, it fell to Richard Henry Lee, delegate from Virginia at the Second Continental Congress, to offer the resolution that "these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."
Lee was a tobacco planter and a seasoned member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. An aristocrat with an innate sense of his natural rights, Lee had long fought England's attempts to undermine colonial liberties. From the time he first came to Congress, he had used his powerful oratory to unite his colleagues in resistance to British tyranny. Absent in Virginia (where he was helping with the formation of a new state government) when his resolution was adopted on July 2, Lee later returned to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Provenance
Duncan Lee, Toronto, and his son Gavin Dunbar Lee, descendants of sitter; gift 1974 to NPG
Contemporary replica of Peale’s museum version made for family.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 144