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George Washington suggested the two views of the Potomac River depicted in this landscape and its companion piece - one set at Great Falls and the other at present-day Harper's Ferry - as "grand objects" for painting. Both canvases (W-2 and W-3) initially hung in the upstairs drawing room of the executive residence in Philadelphia. After Washington retired from the presidency, they were placed in Mount Vernon's New Room. In full view of the Washingtons' many guests, these dramatic views promoted the beauties and wonders of the natural - and national - scenery of the new United States.


Horizontal, rectangular landscape painting depicting waterfalls with large rocky outcropping at their center. River bends at falls, flowing from background right to foreground right. Large tree frames left side. Dark clouds at upper right. Sun shining at left. Relatively high horizon with land sloping down to right.

Gilded, rectangular wood frame with mitered corners and cove-molded faces with applied composition ornament, including a string of small beads or pearls, leaves and medallions, and a braided design.






Oil on canvas


Overall (H x W, framed): 44 in. x 55 1/4 in. (111.76 cm x 140.34 cm)
Other (H x W, canvas): 38 7/8 in. x 50 1/16 in. (98.74 cm x 127.16 cm)

1.4 m1.1 m1 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball

Credit Line

Gift of Theodore Lyman, Jr., 1885

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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