In 1818 and 1819, landscape artist Joshua Shaw traveled throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States to sketch the "most prominent beauties of notable scenery." Soon after, he commissioned John Hill to translate the scenes into prints. Of the eighteen images after Shaw's sketches, only one was dedicated to a burial site. It illustrates George Washington's original sepulcher, or tomb. Following his internment in 1799, people from around the world traveled to visit Washington's final resting place. This image speaks to the landmark's importance as a site of pilgrimage.
Vertically oriented line-etched and water-colored aquatint print of George Washington's sepulcher, or tomb, at Mount Vernon. The foreground is dominated by a large tree that hugs the right side of the print. It provides perspective, helping to increase the distance between the viewer and the tomb in the center of the image. The bare ground leads to double doors surrounded in brick leading to the family vault that is nestled into the hillside. To establish the age of the site, the ground on either side of the entrance gently slopes downwards and is crowned by mature trees. The forest continues to retreat in the background until it disappears in darkness. Lit from rear right.
Ink, watercolor on paper, aquatint with line etching, hand-colored
Overall (sheet): 18 in. x 11 3/8 in. (45.72 cm x 28.96 cm)
Other (image): 14 3/8 in. x 10 1/8 in. (36.53 cm x 25.7 cm)
Gift of Alexander W. Weddell, 1946
Centered etching under the image: "WASHINGTON'S SEPULCHRE MOUNT VERNON / Published by M. Carey & Son Philadelphia."
Etching at lower left, under the plate impression: "Painted by J. Shaw."
Etching at the lower right, under the plate impression: "Engraved by J. Hill."
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