Lacking formal training as a draftsman or architect, George Washington developed his skills through practice and by consulting printed manuals. Though few of his rendered drawings survive, those that do show his exacting concern for detail. This set of pocket drawing instruments may have been used by Washington to create the initial design for a new structure or landscape feature at Mount Vernon while he was taking the lay of the land. It features a divider, pencil, and drawing scale in its compact red morocco leather case.

See also West elevation and cellar floor plan of Mount Vernon, W-1369/A.
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Date

1775-1795


Geography


Material/Technique

A: Leather, paper board, flax B: Copper alloy, iron C: Graphite, wood, brass D: Ivory, white metal, ferrous metal, copper alloy


Dimensions

Overall (A: case (closed)): 3 7/8 in. x 1 7/8 in. x 3/8 in. (9.86 cm x 4.78 cm x 0.91 cm)
Other (B: divider): 2 7/8 in. x 3/8 in. x 1/8 in. (7.32 cm x 0.97 cm x 0.33 cm)
Other (C: pencil): 1 5/8 in. x 1/4 in. x 1/4 in. (4.14 cm x 0.64 cm x 0.64 cm)
Other (D: ruler (folded)): 3 5/16 in. x 7/16 in. x 1/8 in. (8.41 cm x 1.12 cm x 0.33 cm)


Credit

Purchase, 1981
Conservation courtesy of Harry and Erika Lister


Marks

D: Incised into the ivory and rubbed with pigment on the proper right side of the obverse of the rule when closed: "2", "1", "Paris".
Incised into the ivory and rubbed with pigment on the proper left side of the obverse of the rule when closed: "4", "5".
Incised into the ivory and rubbed with pigment on the proper right side of the reverse of the rule when closed: "2", "1".
Incised into the ivory and rubbed with pigment on the proper left side of the reverse of the rule when closed: "4", "5".


Object Number

W-2806/A-D


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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