George Washington purchased several large-scale landscapes during his lifetime, including a pair by English-born artist, William Winstanley. Washington paid Winstanley 30 guineas or $140 for the two paintings on April 6, 1793. In a letter written at Philadelphia three days later, Alexander Hamilton commented on seeing the canvases in an upstairs room of the president's house, "There are two views of situations on Hudson's River painted by Mr Winstanly (sic), in the drawing Room of Mrs. Washington, which have great intrinsic merit…" In both images, the idyllic subject matter and picturesque composition take precedence over capturing precise location details.

After his presidency ended, George Washington displayed both paintings in Mount Vernon's New Room. Martha Washington's grandson, George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857) purchased the pair at the estate sale held on July 20, 1802, after her death. He took the paintings to Arlington House, Arlington, Virginia, where they descended in the Custis and Lee families.


Horizontal, rectangular landscape painting depicting a view of the North or Hudson River. A man drives a horse to drink along the bank in right foreground. Large trees frame scene at left and right. Calm river with tree-lined banks flows to background right. Sun rises at right.

Gilded, rectangular wooden frame with mitered corners and molded faces embellished with composition material, including scallop shells along at the back edge, acanthus leaves at the corners, twisted ribbon and flowers at the top and edge, a reeded hollow, a string of pearls or beads, and a plain filet at the sight edge.


c. 1793




Oil on canvas


Overall (H x W x D, framed): 46 1/4 in. x 59 3/4 in. x 4 in. (117.48 cm x 151.77 cm x 10.16 cm)
Other (H x W, canvas): 36 1/4 in. x 49 3/8 in. (92.08 cm x 125.41 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1940

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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