Late 18th / Early 19th C. oil on canvas portrait of George Washington


Late 18th / Early 19th C. oil on canvas portrait of George Washington, unsigned, 30″ x 27″ Provenance: per a local gentleman present owner: “Dear Bill, Near the end of the civil when the South was crumbling, an officer of the Vermont contingent took this portrait from a fine Richmond (VA) mansion that was being plundered. He cut it from it’s original frame, carried it north, and some time later had it framed in an elegant frame in Albany. The portrait remained in the home of this prominent owner who had originally brought it north. The family name escapes me now, but they were owners of large slate and marble quarries and may be recognizable to you. The portrait stayed in their beautiful brick colonial in downtown Rutland for many years. About 35 years ago an elderly nanny who had worked there all her life retired, and was offered a keepsake of her employer. She chose this portrait. Shortly after moving to Vermont in 1973 I happened by her home in a small town south of Rutland and spied this fabulous portrait on her living room wall, I stopped and asked if it was for sale and her son said no, in fact, he was going to take it down and hide it because it caused so many people to stop. Over the years I stopped to inquire about the now-hidden portrait, but the nanny and her son were not ready to sell it. I had bought some fine antique items from them as time went by and one day they offered me the portrait. I have owned it since then,about 1980. It was in terrible shape but a customer of mine was able to take to the Philadelphia Art Museum where much restoration was done, it had traveled North in saddlebags, showed scars from whoever originally cut it from its frame, and generally needed the best restoration they could do at the time. The museum folks expressed great interest in it and seemed to feel they knew something about its Richmond origins. Unfortunately, it is not signed, but a portrait artist I knew back then was sure Mr. Washington sat for the painting”.