This luminous painting of the view to the Potomac from within Mount Vernon’s deteriorating piazza represents a key moment in Mount Vernon’s history: the period just before its acquisition by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. It was executed in 1857 or 1858 by Hudson River School painter Louis Remy Mignot following a visit to Mount Vernon with his friend and collaborator Eastman Johnson. The pair were guests of the last Washington family owner, John Augustine Washington III, for at least an evening. This work is the only extant Mignot landscape painting of Mount Vernon, and it is presumed to be the source for the view in “Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon, 1784" (1859), executed jointly with Thomas Rossiter. Notably, this image represents the present–the decayed state of the mansion in the late 1850s—while “Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon, 1784," glosses the past.
A horizontal landscape in spring or summer depicting the piazza of Mount Vernon and the summer house beyond. The view is taken from the piazza, just north of the central passage hall door, and looking toward the southeast, with the Maryland shore beyond. The piazza is empty and appears deteriorating, in need of paint and repair, particularly the ceiling. The floor of the piazza has worn to the brick at foreground left, while planks of board are shown at right. Four columns are shown, and each is in need of paint. There is the beginning of a dirt path beyond the piazza to a large expanse of green lawn at left that extends toward a stand of trees and the summer house--the center of the composition--before the river beyond. The grass contains small red blooms and there is a large shadow cast by the mansion across much of it, as well as a nearly figure-shaped shadow at the end of the piazza. The pale blue sky and clouds of the background both have a golden glow and a pink cast, suggesting sunset. The hills of the Maryland shore are painted in purple tones.
The painting has an original gilt wood three-membered frame with decorative ornaments (M-3108/B, unviewed), but it is currently framed in a reproduction gilt wood frame. The reproduction frame is in good condition.