This profile portrait of George Washington was likely made after one by James Sharples, the renowned British pastellist, for whom the President sat at least once. Mount Vernon also holds a set of Sharples’ original pastels which are believed to have been produced from life sittings with the Washington family members in 1796 or 1797. The set--which includes profile portraits of George and Martha Washington, and her grandchildren Nelly Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, as well as Georges Washington Motier Lafayette--was hung in the Front Parlor of Mount Vernon, where they were documented by visitors in 1798 and 1801.


Profile portrait of George Washington in civilian dress, facing proper right with shoulders slightly turned to the proper left. He is shown with gray eyes, a long, slightly hooked, aquiline nose, and a sallow complexion, with touches of warmth at the lips and cheeks. His gray hair is powdered and worn ‘en queue’ with a straight line of hair at the back, and long sideburns. He wears a black velvet coat with white shirt ruffles; there is a light application of pale gray along the upper proper left shoulder which extends downward to delineate the sleeve. The background is a relatively uniform shade of very dark grey, and appears to have been executed in diagonal strokes.

The pastel is on blue laid paper adhered to laminated stock.


c. 1799




Pastel on laid paper


Overall (H x W): 9 1/2 in. x 7 1/2 in. (24.13 cm x 19.05 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased by the A. Alfred Taubman Acquisition Endowment Fund, 2001

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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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