In 1785, world renowned French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon accepted a commission from the Virginia State legislature to create a life-size marble statue of George Washington for the state capitol. During his two-week stay at Mount Vernon that October, Houdon sculpted this bust from locally dug clay and possibly fired it in the kitchen bake oven. Houdon left the bust with Washington and took with him a life mask and detailed physical measurements to complete the final sculpture in France. Washington placed the bust over one of the doors in his Study, where it remained until removed for conservation reasons.

Considered to be the most accurate likeness of George Washington, the bust has remained at Mount Vernon since its creation, one of the few original objects transferred to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association when the fledgling organization came into possession of the estate in 1860.
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Date

1785


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Clay


Dimensions

Height of bust only: 17 1/2 in
Height of bust plus base: 22 1/2 in
Width: 13 in at widest point
Depth: 9 1/8 in
Base: 5" H x 6 3/4 W x 18 1/2 Circumference


Credit

Transferred to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association through the generosity of John Augustine Washington III, 1860


Object Number

W-369


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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