View of North Front of Belvidere, Richmond
Watercolor on paper drawing of "View of North Front of Belvidere, Richmond", 1797, from the Latrobe Sketchbooks, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. This drawing shows a thunderstorm over "Belvidere", a plantation mansion built in 1758 along the falls of the James River. It was built by by William Byrd III (1728-1777) in 1758. He was a wealthy Virginia planter, Representative in the House of Burgesses, and colonel during the French & Indian War. Byrd spent his fortune on gambling and additional estates on his inherited property. Out of money, and deeply in debt, Byrd committed suicide on New Year's Day 1777. The home went to Daniel L. Hylton (1744-1811) for a number of years before it was sold to Governor "Light Horse Harry" Lee III (1756-1818), who owned it for less than a year. Lee sold the home to Bushrod Washington (1762-1829), friend of Latrobe, who sold the home in 1798 following his appointment as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. "Belvidere" was owned by a succession of other owners before it was destroyed by fire in 1854.