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Edward Savage's painting of the nation's First Family quickly achieved icon status when he exhibited it in 1796. George Washington admired the portrait so much that he ordered four engravings of the images. Appropriately, one of these framed prints adorned the small or family dining room at Mount Vernon. The portrait depicts the family looking at plan for the new city of Washington, DC. It was named after George Washington. 

From viewer’s left to right: George Washington (Washy) Parke Custis stands with his right hand resting on a partially covered globe. George Washington, in military uniform, sits on a back stool and rests his right arm on Washy's left shoulder as places his left arm on maps and papers on a covered table at center; his sword and black cockaded hat rest nearby. Eleanor (Nelly) Parke Custis, with her hair in long curls and wearing a white gown stands behind the table, looking at the General and gesturing towards the rolled map of Washington, DC. Martha Washington, seated, taps the map with a closed fan. An enslaved manservant in uniform (possibly Billy Lee) stands behind the family. 

 

 

Classroom Materials downloads are ZIP files that include, when available: document images (JPEGs), document transcripts (PDF as well as Word and/or Excel files), and ready to use classroom resources (activities, discussion prompts, lesson plans, etc.). These materials are available for educational uses only. If you would like to reproduce them in any other medium, please contact Dawn Bonner, Manager of Visual Resources.

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