Page images


mahogany; and tradition avers that it composed a part of

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Washington's baggage during the Revolution. It contains twelve large white glass flasks, thirteen inches in height.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

One of the inirrors, highly ornamented with elaborate

carvings, and bearing the arms of the Washington family, was in a small parlor adjoining the great drawing-room; and the other, a plain one, also bearing the family arms, in gilt upon a deep blue ground, at the top, was in another parlor, adjoining the library.

The tissue paper was made expressly for Washington's use. Each sheet bears his name and crest, and a rude figure of Liberty

with the pileus and cap, forming the water-mark. The paper is quite coarse in texture compared with that manufactured at the present time. The engraving of the water-mark is half the size of the original.




[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The address card was coarsely engraved on copper, and was used by Washington during the war. While he was President, he had a neat invitation-to-dinner card engraved in writing. The original plate of the latter is in the possession of a gentleman in Philadelphia.

Some of the diagrams from Washington's pen, alluded to, liave been delineated upon other pages of this work. The engravings that belonged to him hang in the great passage and two adjoining parlors. These are, Andromache bewailing the Death of Hector; The Death of Montgomery; The Death of Warren ; two Hunting Scenes; four Landscapes; The Defence of Gibraltar, four Views; Descent from the Cross; and a St. Agnes. These are all more or less injured by some tiny destroyers, that are daily making the high lights still stronger, so that all the pictures now appear snowy. If their destructive progress shall not be speedily arrested, those relics of the great Patriot's household ornaments will be lost forever. With characteristic modesty, Washington allowed no picture of scenes in which he was a participant to adorn the walls of Mount Vernon. Some fine oil paintings and family portraits that were there have been distributed among relative; that of Lawrence Washington alone remains.

Only one more object of interest at Mount Vernon, remains to be noticed. It is a portrait of Washington taken from a common English earthenware pitcher, and is known as The Pitcher Portrait. It is in a deep gilt frame, and upon the back is an admirable eulogy of the great Patriot, in monumental form. The history of this portrait and the eulogy was communicated to me recently by the venerable artist, Rembrandt Peale, of Philadelphia, and is both curious and interesting.

About the year 1804, the late John R. Smith, of Philadelphia, son of the eminent Jonathan Bayard Smith, showed Mr. Peale a copy by Sharpless himself, of that artist's crayon profile of Washington, made in 1796. On the back of it was a enlogy of Washington, written in monumental form in two columns, by an English gentleman, Mr. Smith said, whose name he had forgotten, or never knew. He told Mr. Pealu that the gentleman pasted it on the back of the portrait.


It was at about that time that a crockery dealer in Philadelphia imported a number of earthenware pitchers from Liverpool, each bearing a portrait of Washington from an engraving of Stuart's picture painted for the Marquis of Lansdowne, which Heath had badly engraved, and Nutter had better executed for Hunter's quarto edition of Lavater. Nutter's engraving was coarsely innitated in the one upon the pitcher.

The pitchers attracted the attention of Mr. Dorsey, a sugar refiner of Philadelphia, who had a taste for art, and he purchased several of them, as he considered the likeness of Washington a good one. Mr. Dorsey, after several unsiccessful attempts to separate the part bearing the portrait, from the rest of the pitcher, succeeded, by using the broad-faced hammer of a shoemaker, in breaking them cleanly out by a single blow, given directly upon the picture.

One of these pictures broken out by Mr. Dorsey, was handsomely framed by Mr. Smith, and sent to Judge Washington at Mount Vernon, with the eulogy on the back of the Sharpless profile belonging to his father, copied by his own hand. That copy varies materially from the original, in some of its plıraseology and in large omissions. This difference may be accounted for by the supposition that Mr. Smith had not room in the space on the back of the picture to transcribe the whole of the original, and some parts were omitted and others changed. The Sharpless picture was much larger than the pitcher portrait, and there was more room on the back for the eulogy.

In the year 1819 or 1820, Mr. Smith gave Mr. Harrison Hall, the publisher of the Port Folio, a perfect transcript of what was, probably, the original eulogy, and to the courtesy of that gentleman I am indebted for the subjoined copy, which contains all the omissions in the one upon the back of the picture at Mount Vernon. Mr. IIall, and others of Mr. Smith's friends, have been under the impression that that accomplished gentleman was the author of the enlogy, but the explicit statement of Mr. Peale and concurring circumstances appear to remove all doubt of the truth of the cominon tradition in the Washington family, that it was written by an

« PreviousContinue »