After Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). [Washington. Engraved by Thomas B. Welch by Permission from the only original portrait by Gilbert Stuart in the Athenaeum Boston].
Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1852. 22 ¾ x 18 (Image). Stipple with line engraving by Thomas B. Welch (1814-1874). Early proof before title, letters and facsimile of Washington’s signature just below image Signed in pencil by the engraver under the image right hand side. Scattered small black spots (old ink?) in image lower left hand side. Three tears into image repaired with archival tape. Top right corner margin chipped not affecting image. Some minor scuffing, soiling and light staining in margins and image. Minuscule puncture in image upper right hand side filled and in-painted. Remnants of old paper backing on verso. Else, good condition. Rare signed artist’s proof. Baker: 351.
A large bust engraving taken after Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished 1796 painting of George Washington known as The Athenæum portrait. This engraving by Welch was supervised by the eminent American painter Thomas Sully. The publisher of this print sent a signed engraver’s proof print to George Washington’s adopted son George Washington Park Custis who proclaimed the print to be a “faithful original of the celebrated original.” Popular prints of Washington began appearing at an accelerated rate in the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1850s many images of George Washington were used as part of pleas to continue a united nation while partisan differences continued to aggravate governments in the North and the South.