In July 1830 Anson Dickinson received a commission from Martha Washington’s grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, to copy in miniature Charles Willson Peale’s George Washington as a Virginia Colonel of 1772. The miniature was used as the source of a widely-distributed engraving, which was sold for one dollar. Americans were encouraged to buy the engraving as their “duty” to acquire “everything relative to that great and good man.” This miniature is a later, 1850, copy by Dickinson of his 1830 miniature.
Rectangular portrait miniature of George Washington; half-length, three-quarter view of subject, facing proper right, with gloved right hand inside waistcoat and left hand behind back. Washington wears a military uniform. The dark navy coat has scarlet facings and cuffs and is trimmed with silver buttons and lace. The scarlet waistcoat is also trimmed with silver buttons and lace. He wears scarlet breeches, a white shirt and stock decorated at the neck with a diamond-shaped gold pin, and a gorget hanging from a blue ribbon. Lace ruffles protrude from the edge of the sleeve. A red and blue sash is draped diagonally across the torso from proper left shoulder. His dark navy cocked hat has a silver button and loop. The barrel of a rifle extends out diagonally from the crook of his proper left arm, and a silver-wrapped sword handle emerges from below the waistcoat at proper left. The background is in tones of pink and blue, suggesting the battlefield or a sunset sky.
The miniature is framed in a period, possibly original, gilt wood frame with decorative inset scrollwork, and an ormolu mat.
Watercolor, gouache on ivory; gilt wood frame, gilt sanded mat, glass
Overall (H x W x D): 10 3/8 in. × 9 1/8 in. × 2 1/8 in. (26.35 cm × 23.18 cm × 5.4 cm)
Other (H x W Miniature): 4 3/8 in. × 3 3/16 in. (11.11 cm × 8.1 cm)
Gift of Elizabeth and Stanley DeForest Scott, 2013
At lower proper left corner, in white, â€œA Dickinsonâ€ / below it there is a date: which though not entirely legible appears to read â€œ1850â€.
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