1801 Mezzotint Portrait of George Washington by Edward Savage after Gilbert Stuart

Offered is an original mezzotint print depicting a portrait of George Washington. The work dates to 1801 and was produced by engraver Edward Savage.

This print was published shortly after Washington's death, to celebrate his importance as one of the leading founding fathers of the nation. His visage is based off the famous "Lansdowne" portrait by Gilbert Stuart, originally painted in 1796 in one of the several in-person sittings Washington had with Stuart. Stuart's portrait was adapted by countless painters during the period, who, without access to Washington themselves, often painted variants of Gilbert's original. Savage was one of many to produce his own variation of Stuart's Lansdowne portrait in oil paint. He later replicated the painting as a mezzotint engraving, which is what is presented here.

The standing portrait shows President George Washington in front of neoclassical columns. In keeping with Stuart's original depiction, the composition is highly symbolic. In his right hand, Washington holds a dress sword, hinting at his military prowess and his significant role as Commander in Chief. To his left is a table strewn with books, scrolls, a quill and an ink pot to signify rule of law.

Edward Savage (1761-1817) was an American portrait painter and engraver born in Massachusetts. By 1780, Savage was working on commissions for buyers in Boston, mostly producing engravings of works by John Singleton Copley. Although not classically trained, Savage came to prominence in his depiction of George Washington of 1789, which was intended as a gift to Harvard University. This relationship with Harvard University allowed Savage to continue to depict Washington and his wife Martha for years to come. Savage produced the only contemporary work that depicted Washington at his home estate Mount Vernon, entitled The Washington Family. Savage went on to produce many more portraits of Washington and sold prints to Washington himself to be housed in his Mount Vernon estate.

CONDITION:

Overall very good condition, especially considering age. Some overall toning, but no severe staining visible. Slight loss at bottom right corner.

Print has been archivally framed in a custom-built black wooden frame with acid-free dark top mats and two spandrels. Framed Dimensions: 38 1/2” H x 32” W x 2 1/4” D. 




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