Unattributed. “The Courtship of Washington.”
New York: John C. McRae, 1860. Engraving by J.C. McRae. 15 x 21 1/2. Three skillfully repaired tears, two in bottom margin and one in top right margin corner, all not affecting image. Light scuffing in margins. Else, very good condition.
A sentimental image of George Washington courting Martha, issued by New York publisher, John C. McRae. McRae produced large, uncolored engravings of historical scenes in the mid-nineteenth century. Here he engraved the scene of Martha Custis sitting with her two children, and George sitting somewhat distractedly in a comfortable arm chair. The scene has a classic formality and composition, keeping Washington in his ‘heroic’ plane even though engaged in the very human activity of courtship. Many retrospective historical prints of the mid-nineteenth century were issued as part of the myth-making of American history that was popular at the time. This print is typical of the type, and it provides not only a visually interesting document, but one that tells us more about the period when it was issued than of the period depicted.