Charles Willson Peale completed this miniature of George Washington as Commander in Chief for Martha Washington in August 1776. Because Washington was in New York fighting the British at the time, Peale modeled his likeness after a three-quarter-length portrait of the general he painted a few weeks earlier at John Hancock's request. During the Revolution, Martha Washington spent each winter at her husband's headquarters, returning to Mount Vernon as the spring campaigns began. When they were apart, this miniature - which Mrs. Washington could wear around her neck or hold in the palm of her hand - must have provided her great comfort.


Oval, bust-length portrait of George Washington in military uniform as Commander-in-Chief, his head and body facing slightly to the left as he looks at the viewer. He wears a white neckcloth, embroidered light-colored waistcoat, and blue sash over his right shoulder under a dark blue coat with light-colored collar and gold epaulettes; gilt buttons on coat, buttonholes in collar and lapels. Shaded blue background is lightest to the right of his head. Lit from top left.

Plain oval gold case with beveled face. Opening at one side for bracelet slide. Swivel hinge loop and simple pin and hook attached on back.






Watercolor, ivory, gold, brass


Overall: 2 in. x 1 1/2 in. x 1/4 in. (5.08 cm x 3.81 cm x 0.64 cm)
Other (image): 1 5/8 in. x 1 5/16 in. (4.14 cm x 3.33 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1920

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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