Daniel F. Huntington. "Lady Washington's Reception".
New York: Emil Seitz, ca. 1865. 21 1/2 x 35. Engraving by A.H. Ritchie. Strong impression. Hand color. Faint stain upper right margin corner not affecting image. Print has been professionally conserved. Else, very good condition. Very good condition. Ref: Karal Ann Marling, George Washington Slept Here, 1988.
This painting was designed to show not one particular reception, but rather to be a representative tableau of the Friday evening "teas" held by Martha throughout her husband's term. The scene is filled with symbolism representing the august status conferred on Martha and George in the mid-nineteenth century. The elegance of the surroundings, the richness of the dress of those at the reception, and the formality of the situation and poses all recall a scene from any of the royal courts of Europe in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, it was likely the depicted refinement of the costumes and the obvious high status accorded to these American socialites that most explains the popularity of this elaborate print.