George Washington (1732-99) revolutionary army officer and first President of the U.S.A.

  • About the work
    Interpretation about this artwork is under review

    The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.

    George Washington leans against a British Canon, with crossed legs and one hand resting on his hip. He is shown just after his victory at the Battle of Princeton on 3 January 1777, when the British army, lead by Lord Cornwallis, were defeated. This painting is a copy of a work which was formerly in the collection of the Earl of Albemarle, Quidenham Hall, Norwich, Norfolk. It was presented by the Earl and Countess of Albemarle in 1918, to commemorate the USA’s entrance into the Great War.

    Peale painted Washington more times than any other artist. His original version of this painting is now in the collection of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, although he made an estimated 18 replicas. This copy by William A. Menzies is larger than the original in both height and width. The other significant distinction between this and Peale’s original version is that the British flag, crumpled on the ground in the original, has been omitted entirely, indicating that the work was intended for a British collector. 
  • About the artist
    William A. Menzies worked as a copyist, making numerous accurate reproductions of works by other artists. In total there are six copies by Menzies in the Government Art Collection, all of which were painted between 1910 and 1918.
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  • Details
    Title
    George Washington (1732-99) revolutionary army officer and first President of the U.S.A.
    Date
    1918
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 240.00 cm, width: 148.50 cm
    Acquisition
    Presented by the Earl of Albemarle, 1919
    Inscription
    verso on canvas (before relining): George Washington / after portrait at Quidenham / by Peale, / belonging to the Rt. Honble. / The Earl of Albemarle CB / 1918. / W. A. Menzies // Presented by The Earl & Countess / of Albemarle to commemorate the entrance / of the U.S.A. into the Great War.
    Provenance
    Presented by Earl & Countess of Albemarle to HM Government in 1919 to commemorate entrance of USA into the Great War. Copy painted in 1918 by W A Menzies after portrait belonging to Lord Albemarle at Quidenham
    GAC number
    0/439