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General Washington’s Present Tomb


This view of George Washington’s original tomb at Mount Vernon is one of several paintings English-born artist, Francis Guy, advertised for sale by lottery in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 22, 1804. The view, though charming, is geographically incorrect. Guy depicted the tomb under a large mound on the embankment just above the Potomac River with the Maryland shoreline in the distance. The entrance to the vault which by 1804 contained the remains of Martha Washington (1731-1802) is shown flanked by two red brick columns surmounted by an arch. At the actual site, the mound above the vault is small and the embankment on which the tomb was placed is a steep hillside with a precipitous drop of well over 100 feet. Of particular interest, are the two small figures in front of the tomb. One of them is in Revolutionary War-period uniform while the other gentleman is in a black suit similar to the black suit Washington is seen wearing in the “Landsdowne” portrait in this gallery. Perhaps Guy was making reference to Washington’s personae which transformed him into an icon of our nation: Commander-in-Chief and President.


circa 1804


Oil on canvas

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Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.