Stipple and line engraved and etched print titled: "PATER PATRIAE/ TRENTON PRINCETON MONMOUTH YORKTOWN/ Sacred to the Memory of the truly Illustrious/ GEORGE WASHINGTON. Renowned in War, Great in the Senate, and possessed of every Qualification to render him worthy the Title of a GREAT and GOOD MAN./ BORN Feb. 22, 1732. Ob. Dec. 14, 1799". Gridley (act. 1800-1818) did the engraving after a lost painting by artist John Coles, Jr. (c. 1778-1754), to commemorate the death of Washington. The medallion of George Washington was based on a portrait by Edward Savage. John Coles, a Massachusetts heraldic and portrait painter, fashioned his early 19th-century tribute to the father of the country in the form of a great marble monument, embellished with an oval portrait of the president. Coles piled on garland-toting cherubsm, a trumpeting Fame, two putti, one carrying a helmet and one a shield; a distraught Columbia, and a mournful Minerva. Stark against the blackness of some niche, the composition is given just one more touch - a weeping officer. The imagery and text can be comfounding. One of the cherubs carries a mirror - an attribute of vanity - something not associated with Washington, and the text says that Washington was a senator which he was not. Gridley was working in New York City as early as 1803, and after about 1804, he was in Philadelphia. Coles was listed in the Boston directories from 1803 to 1825. William S. Baker, in his Engraved Portraits of Washington, no. 403, stated that Coles and Gridley issued this print in Boston, July 28, 1800, certainly timely in view of the fact that Washington had been dead for only six months and the nation was still in mourning. But neither Charles Henry Hart nor David McNeeley Stauffer corroborated this date for the first issue of such an amazing bit of American-grown allegory - some scholars date this print later to c. 1810. Gridley's print became a source work for many needlework pictures.
memorials; soldiers; mourning; deaths; historical figures; allegory
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