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Full text of "History of Dearborn and Ohio counties, Indiana. From their earliest settlement"

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SOME ACCOUNT OP THE 

"GIBBS-CHANNING" PORTRAIT 

OF GEORGE WASHINGTON 




ome Account of the 

"Gibbs-Channing" 

Portrait of George 

-Washington i&k imz 33bk 
2&K 3&K Painted by Gilbert Stuart 




Privately Printed 
New York . 1900 



<U€ VS"7/. 3 3 



Harvard Cni!< ts Library 

Norton C-reciion, 

Dec. 3, i^'i"/. 





JI3J0E the portrait of Washing- 
ton, by Gilbert Stuart, known 
as the "Gibbs-Channing " por- 
trait, passed into the possession 
of the present owner, he has 
often been requested to loan it for various pub- 
lic exhibitions, to allow it to be reproduced in 
different forms, and as often has been solicited 
to furnish information as to its history. The 
general recognition that this pictorial rendering 
of the "Father of his Country" is the most 
worthy of the many likenesses made of him, 
also that it is a supreme work of art by our 
greatest portrait painter, which for perfection of 
execution and immaculate condition stands pre- 
eminent, fully* justifies the following presenta- 
tion of facts relating to its history and record- 

4 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

ing some of the critical praise which has been 
freely bestowed upon it 

It may be in order to first give the following 
letter from Dr. William F. Channing, from 
whom Mr. 8. P. Avery, of New York, pur- 
chased the painting in 1889. 

Dear Sir: You have requested me to furnish you with the 
record of the "Gibbs" Washington, derived from the publica- 
tions relating to it, from my own researches, and from family 
tradition. 

The " Gibbs " Washington is the representative picture of 
Washington's first sitting to Stuart, in September, 1795. This 
sitting originated the first type of the Washington portrait by 
Stuart, showing the right side of Washington's face. The 
Vaughan picture (painted for Samuel Vaughan, 1 sent to London, 
engraved by Holloway, and published there in 1796) and three 
other copies which exist, belonging to this type, were all painted, 
though perhaps not finished, in the latter part of 1795 or early 
part of 1796. All are very inferior to the " Gibbs " Washing- 
ton in individuality of handling and detail. The "Gibbs" 
Washington was sold by Stuart, at an early date, to his warm 
personal friend, Colonel George Gibbs (died 1833) of New York, 
with the statement that it was on the easel while Washington 
was sitting, and worked upon from life. At a later period 
Colonel Gibbs, having purchased from Stuart a set of his Presi- 
dents of the United States, sold the Gibbs picture to his 
sister, Mrs. William Ellery Channing, who gave it, thirty 

1 Samuel Vaughan was a London merchant, resident for several years in 
Philadelphia, and a great admirer of Washington. He is the Mr. Vaughan 
who presented him with the handsomely carved mantel for Mount Vernon, 
which Washington termed in his diary— "My marble chimney piece." Mr. 
Vaughan took or sent the picture to London in the year in which it was 
painted, and was there engraved by T. Holloway, and there published in 1796. 

5 



tfMHHUBMMftMA^^J 



The " Gibbs- Charming" Washington 

years ago, to her son Dr. William F. Charming, the present 
owner and writer of this letter. The "Gibbs" Washington 
has thus never been out of the possession of the Gibbs-Chan- 
ning family since it left Stuart's hands. 

The original picture, resulting from Washington's second 
sitting, April, 1796, is the "Athenaeum" head, now in the 
Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Stuart retained this picture 
in his own possession, and, as he did not want the Gibbs 
picture to come in competition with the head, which he had 
selected to multiply in future years by numerous copies, what 
more probable disposition could be made of it than to sell it 
to his cherished friend, in whose discretion he could trust ? 
From all the circumstances, and from the internal evidence of 
the picture itself, my own conviction, shared by many artists, 
has increased that the Gibbs picture is (in the most restricted 
sense) the original of Washington's first sitting to Stuart. 
The picture has been engraved for Elizabeth B. Johnston's 
work, "The Original Portraits of Washington," 1882, in which 
she praises it highly, adding, " It is a pity, and a marvel, that 
it has not been more widely known." 

Mr. George G. Mason, in his " Illustrated Life and Works of 
Gilbert Stuart," 1879, furnishes a fine photogravure of the 
picture as a frontispiece of the volume, and also an excellent 
line-engraving, by Charles Burt, in the body of the work. Mr. 
Mason says that "the finest, beyond all comparison," of the 
Stuart portraits of the first type is the "Gibbs" Washington. 
He adds: "The picture is superb, and in it the lower part of 
the face, so much criticized in the well-known portraits of 
Washington by Stuart, is remarkably well managed." Rem- 
brandt Peale says, speaking of the Vaughan picture, an early 
Washington by Stuart: "In the lower part of the face it has 
the advantage over the other portraits that he afterward 
painted." This quality, in a much higher degree, appears in 
the Gibbs picture, with which Peale was probably unac- 
quainted. The venerable A. B. Durand, when shown a photo- 

6 



J 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

graph of it, said: "That is a likeness. It is much superior in 
character to the Athenaeum portrait, and should be consid- 
ered the standard: both the artist and the subject would 
gain by it." He also said he wished he could have known of 
it in earlier life, evidently meaning that he would have 
engraved it, instead of the Athenaeum portrait. 

The "Gibbs" Washington is distinguished by its dignity as 
well as benignity of expression. The picture is in splendid 
preservation, the colors, as in so many of Stuart's pictures, 
retaining their original brilliancy. 

I have a vivid recollection of the picture, nearly sixty 
years ago, hanging with other portraits in the house of my 
father, William Ellery Ghanning, in Boston. 

Newport, Sept. 2, 1888. Wm. F. Channing. 

Soon after the large " Anneline " photograph 
was taken of the painting by Wm. Kurtz, a 
copy of it was sent to Mr. Charles Henry Hart, 
of Philadelphia, a literary gentleman who has 
long been an acknowledged expert on subjects 
of art connected with American history. On 
the receipt of which he wrote as follows : 

"Kosemont, Pa., January 18, 1896. 

" My dear Sir : I found the superb photograph 
of your Washington awaiting me on my return, 
and I cannot express myself in regard to the 
original more strongly than I did in the ' Ameri- 
can Art Keview ' for March, 1880, Vol. I, p. 
219; as the volume may not be handy to you, I 
will quote from my review therein of Mason's 

7 



^a 



■J 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

Life of Stuart: 'For introducing this last- 
named picture (Gibbs* Washington) to the public, 
Mr. Mason merits universal thanks, and it is 
only to be regretted that it has remained hidden 
so long. Had it been known earlier, we feel 
confident in asserting that the Athenaeum head 
would not have become the accepted likeness of 
Washington. We had the privilege of seeing 
the Gibbs portrait when it was in the engraver's 
hands, and to say that it is noble as a portrait 
and grand as a picture is but to express feebly 
the impression it made upon us. In the first 
place, it is what the Lansdowne and Athenaeum 
heads are not : it is the likeness of a man — a 
man who has lived among men ; firmness and 
gentleness, decision and moderation, thoughtful- 
ness and power, all are depicted there. One 
feels that Washington could have looked like 
this, and it is not unlike the portraits painted by 
other artists; but no one can ever feel thor- 
oughly satisfied that he did look like the Lans- 
downe or the Athenaeum heads. . . ."' Quoting 
still further from Mr. Hart's review, he says : 
" That Stuart was a master in the art of portrait 
painting it needs no argument to prove; his 
works are the only argument needed, and they 
prove it most satisfactorily. In his life-like por- 

8 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

traits the men and women of a past generation 
live again. Each individual is here, and it was 
Stuart's ability to portray the individual that 
was his greatest power. Each face looks at 
you, and fain would speak, while the brilliant 
and animated coloring makes one forgetful that 
it is of the past. Stuart's pictures have come 
down to us very little injured by time, which is 
doubtless owing to the use by him of pure colors, 
and his manner of employing them." 

The late Wm. S. Baker, of Philadelphia, the 
well-known author of the " Engraved Portraits 
of Washington," Philadelphia, 1880, and of" 
other historical and bibliographical works relat- 
ing to Washington, thus expressed himself: " I 
have received a copy of the splendid photograph 
of the Gibbs-Channing € Washington.' I do 
not remember to have seen the original, but am 
exceedingly impressed with this reproduction 
and can truthfully say with Durand that ' this 
is a likeness and much superior to the Athenaeum 
head/ I am glad that the original of so valu- 
able a portrait of the * Father of his Country ' is 
in such worthy hands. I must regard it as the 
portrait which is most consistent with the charac- 
ter of that great man. . . ." 

9 



jr^^^fc 



The " Gibbs- Charming" Washington 

Keturning to Mason's "Life," G. W. P. Custis, 
in his "Recollections and Private Memoirs," 
says: "The first portrait of Washington by 
Stuart created a great sensation in Philadelphia. 
It was soon followed by the celebrated full- 
length for the Marquis of Lansdowne. 1 This 
last was undoubtedly the next picture to create 
a sensation; but there was an interval of at 
least a year between the painting of the first por- 
trait and the full-length. . . ." Among Stuart's 
papers the following fragment was found: "A 
list of gentlemen who are to have copies of the 
portrait of the President of the United States, 
Philadelphia, 1795" (then follow several 
names — Mr. Vaughan's being the only one 
which has become familiar); it is not at all 
probable that these pictures were all painted ; 
Philadelphia at that time was ftdl of visitors ; 

i " The first full-length of Washington was a commission from the Marquis 
of Lansdowne. When it was known that Stuart was to paint such a picture, 
Mr. and Mrs. William Bingham (Mr. Bingham was a notable merchant of 
Philadelphia) expressed a strong desire to be at the charge, and to be per- 
mitted to present it to the marquis. Stuart, it is said, hesitated, but finally 
yielded to their wishes, and Mrs. Bingham asked the president to give the 
artist sittings. This was in April, 1796, as shown in the note from the 
president to Stuart. 'Sir:—l am under promise to Mrs. Bingham to sit for 
you to-morrow, at nine o'clock, and wishing to know if it would be convenient 
to you that I should do so, and whether it shall be at your own house (as she 
talked of the State House) I send this note to ask information. I am, sir, 
your obedient servant, Geo. Washington 

'Monday Evening, 11. April, 1796/ w 

This painting is now in the possession of Lord Rosebery. 

10 



The " Gibbs -Channing" Washington 

Stuart was crowded with orders for portraits, 
and he was so overrun with callers that he was 
forced, a little later, to remove to Germantown. 
"... It is very easy to establish the fact that 
the earlier portraits show only the right side of 
the face, but it is not possible now to say which 
of the early portraits was the earliest. The 
finest beyond all comparison is that owned by 
Dr. William F. Channing, of Providence, R. I. 
It was painted for Colonel George Gibbs. The 
warmest friendship existed between Colonel 
Gibbs and Stuart, and we may feel sure that in 
painting this picture the artist aimed to do his 
best. ,, 

Mr. Charles Henry Hart, in " Harper's Maga- 
zine " for August, 1896, in an article on "Stuart's 
Lansdowne Portrait of Washington," has the 
following regarding the pictures of the first sit- 
ting to Stuart : 

"Gilbert Stuart painted three original por- 
traits of Washington from life. They are 
known to history, from their owners, in the 
order of their painting, as the Vaughan, Lans- 
downe, and Athenaeum pictures. The first is a 
full bust, the second a whole length, and the 
third a vignette head. The Vaughan portrait 

11 



■aMfc 



*ji 



wm 



The " Gibbs^Channing" Washington 

shows the right side of the face, while the Lans- 
downe and Athenaeum heads show the left side. 

" Stuart returned from England in 1792, after 
an ahsence of seventeen years, and towards the 
close of 1794 settled in Philadelphia, with the 
ostensible object of painting a portrait of the 
President, carrying with him, it is said, a letter 
of introduction to Washington from John Jay. 
Here in the following year he painted his first 
portrait of Washington, a delineation unfortu- 
nately not commonly familiar, but which, after 
a careful study of the subject, I consider to be 
the best and most satisfactory likeness of Wash- 
ington that Stuart painted. 

" There are but three pictures known of this 
type from the easel of Stuart. One, the portrait 
painted for Samuel Vaughan, of London, which 
was finely engraved by Holloway for Hunter's 
sumptuous edition of Lavater's "Physiognomy," 
now in the possession of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, 
of Philadelphia. Another, until within a few 
years lost sight of, much finer than the Vaughan 
portrait in execution, and with every indication 
of being the original from life painted for Wil- 
liam Bingham, and purchased at the sale of his 
effects at Philadelphia, in 1807, by the proprie- 
tor of the Old Exchange Coffee-house, in whose 

12 



Skm 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

family it remained for eighty-five years, until it 
came into the possession of the writer. And 
the third, somewhat varied from the other two, 
but a very beautiful and impressive head, known 
as the Gibbs picture, belonging to Mr. S. P. 
Avery, of New York. 

" For some unaccountable reason Stuart seems 
not to have been satisfied with this, his first 
attempt, and he had two later sittings, the last 
one, or Athenaeum head, receiving his prefer- 
ence. Yet he retained the Gibbs picture by 
him for several years, and is said to have dis- 
posed of it to Colonel Gibbs as his best work* 
and only out of personal friendship. Likewise, 
when William Birch desired to make an enamel 
portrait of Washington, Stuart gave him his 
first head to copy, and Washington stamped it 
with his approval." 

Mason mentions another of the same type as 
being owned (1879) by " Mrs. Eogers, of Lan- 
caster, Pa., a daughter of General Hand, of the 
Revolution. . . ." Elizabeth Johnston has the 
following notice of this picture in her work, 
" The Original Portraits of Washington," Mo, 
Osgood & Co., Boston, 1882 : " A very hand- 
some copy of this first portrait is now in posses- 

13 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

sion of Mrs. Anna E. Eeilly, of New Haven, 
Conn. This lady is a great-granddaughter of 
the ' gallant Irish captain of the Revolution/ 
General Edward Hand. The picture was pur- 
chased in Baltimore in 1806, hy Edward Brien, 
of Philadelphia, who married General Hand's 
daughter." The late Mr. Stockton Hough, 
of Trenton, N. J., told Mr. Avery that he had 
seen this picture (1899) in possession of Mrs. 
Reilly (nee Rogers), who was then living at the 
Windsor Hotel. Mr. Hough described the pic- 
ture as being a fair example of the artist, and 
that the background was red. Another good 
Stuart, answering to the above description, is 
now owned by Mr. George L. Rives of this 
city, who has kindly furnished this clear pedi- 
gree of it. "This portrait was for many years 
in the possession of Professor George Tucker, of 
the University of Virginia, the biographer and 
friend of Jefferson. How it came into Professor 
Tucker's possession is uncertain, although it 
may have been through his wife, who was 
Maria Ball Carter, whom he married in 1802, 
and who was a great-niece of General Washing- 
ton. From Professor Tucker the portrait came 
to his daughter, Mrs. George Rives, of Sher- 
wood, Albemarle Co., Va., and was by her sold 

14 



The " Gfibbs-Channing" Washington 

to Mr. Francis Rives in 1874, who bequeathed 
it to his son, Mr. George L. Rives." 

Stuart's third original — destined to become 
the most known of his works — was a bust- 
portrait, for which Washington consented to 
sit at the solicitation of his wife, of whom 
Stuart painted a companion portrait during the 
spring or summer of 1796. His fame now 
burdened him with multiplied demands upon 
his time. To secure leisure, he left Chestnut 
Street, and removed to Germantown, where the 
Athenaeum portraits were painted. Different 
statements have been made as to why Stuart 
never completely finished these portraits, and 
retained them thus in his possession until 
he died. Stuart's explanation is given by 
Mr. Neagle, the artist, in these words: "Mrs. 
Washington called often to see the general's 
portrait, and was desirous to possess it One 
day she called with her husband, and begged to 
know when she might have it. The general 
himself never pressed it; but on this occasion, as 
he and his lady were about to retire, he returned 
to Mr. Stuart, and said that he saw plainly of 
what advantage the picture was to the painter. 
He therefore begged the artist to retain the 

15 



The " Gfibbs-Channing" Washington 

picture at his pleasure." Miss Jane Stuart's 
version of the story is: "When General and 
Mrs. Washington took their last sittings, her 
father told Washington that it would be of great 
importance to him if he could retain the origi- 
nals, and that Washington consented, saying, 
' Certainly, Mr. Stuart, if they are of any con- 
sequence to you; I shall be perfectly satisfied 
with copies from your hand, as it will be impos- 
sible for me to sit again. 9 "' Miss Stuart says 
that the copies that were made were for Mount 
Vernon. 

This pair of (the unfinished) portraits re- 
mained in the possession of his family until 
1831, when they were bought from his widow, 
for fifteen hundred dollars, by the Washington 
Association of Boston, and other subscribers, 
and were presented to the Boston Athenaeum; 
at present they are loaned to the Museum of 
Fine Arts, with other paintings belonging to 
the Athenaeum. Of this picture Stuart made a 
great many copies, good, fairly good, or poor, 
as the mood or pressure permitted; he used to 
call it his "nest egg," or his "hundred-dollar 
bill," and when he needed money he would turn 
one oflf rapidly. One of the best of these copies 

16 






MMMiiM 



iitfi 



Ai 



j 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

is now in the Walters superb collection at Bal- 
timore. It was painted for Robert Gilmor, also 
a noted collector of the same city; with the 
picture came Stuart's receipt for the price of it 
(one hundred and fifty dollars), and some lines 
saying that, painting it for such a distinguished 
amateur, he had taken especial pains with it, 
and hoped Mr. Gilmor would be pleased. After 
the Gilmor collection was dispersed, this picture 
became the property of Admiral Dahlgren, from 
whose widow the late William T. Walters pro- 
cured it. 

Some of Stuart's copies of this Washington 
portrait have been destroyed by fire or other 
accidents, others from want of proper care, in- 
judicious cleaning, etc., have become worthless. 
Stuart's daughter made quite a number of copies 
of the same picture; James Frothingham, 
Stuart's pupil, made several most excellent 
copies, which to the unlearned might pass as 
the master's work. Others have made copies, 
from copies. Considering these facts, it is not 
difficult to account for the numerous "Stuart's 
Washington 99 which are constantly turning up, 
to the dismay of artist-judges and other genuine 
experts. 

17 



FMii ff 



The " CHbbs-Channing" Washington 

Washington Allston was asked to pronounce 
a eulogy on Stuart, but he was forced to decline, 
owing to failing health; he, however, wrote the 
following obituary, which appeared in the 
columns of the Boston "Daily Advertiser ": a 
memorial which in paying a just and beautiful 
tribute to the genius of Stuart, did credit to the 
heart of his brother artist. 



Gilbert Stuart 

JBom December 3, 1755. 
EHe0 3uH?27, 1828. 

"During the last week the remains of Gilbert 
Stuart, Esq., were consigned to the tomb. He 
was born in the State of Ehode Island, in the 
year 1755. Soon after coming of age he went 
to England, where he became the pupil of Mr. 
West, the late distinguished President of the 
Royal Academy. Stuart there rose to eminence ; 
nor was it a slight distinction that his claims 
were acknowledged even during the life of Sir 
Joshua Reynolds. His high reputation as a 
portrait painter, as well in Ireland as in Eng- 
land, having thus introduced him to a large ac- 
quaintance among the higher classes of society, 

18 



ritttf* 



The " GHbbs-Channing" Washington 

both fortune and fame attended his progress, in- 
asmuch that, had he chosen to remain in Eng- 
land, they would have doubtless awarded him 
their highest gifts- But, admired and patron- 
ized as he was, he chose to return to his native 
country. He was impelled to this step, as he 
often declared, by a desire to give to Americans 
a faithful portrait of Washington, and thus, in 
some measure, to associate his own with the 
name of the Father of his Country. And well 
is his ambition justified in the sublime head he 
has left us: a nobler personification of wisdom 
and goodness, reposing in the majesty of a 
serene countenance, is not to be found on can- 
vas. He returned to America in 1792, and re- 
sided chiefly in Philadelphia and Washington, 
in the practice of his profession, till about 1806, 
when he removed to Boston, where he remained 
to the time of his death. During the last ten 
years of his life he had to struggle with many 
infirmities ; yet such was the vigor of his mind 
that he seemed to triumph over the decay of 
nature, and give to some of his last productions 
all the truth and splendor of his prime. 

" Gilbert Stuart was not only one of the first 
painters of his time, but must have been ad- 
mitted, by all who had an opportunity of know- 

19 



mm 



The " Ctibbs-Channing" Washington 

ing him, to have heen, even out of his art, an 
extraordinary man; one who would have found 
distinction easy in any other profession or walk 
of life. His mind was of a strong and original 
cast, his perceptions as clear as they were just, 
and in the power of illustration he has rarely 
heen equaled on almost every suhject, more 
especially on such as were connected with his 
art; his conversation was marked hy wisdom 
and knowledge, while the uncommon precision 
and eloquence of his language seemed ever to 
receive additional grace from his manner, which 
was that of a well-hred gentleman. 3 " The nar- ^ 
rations and anecdotes with which his knowledge 
of men and of the world had stored his mem- 
ory, and which he often gave with great heauty 
and dramatic effect, were not unfrequently em- 
ployed hy Mr. Stuart in a way and with an 
address peculiar to himself. From this store it 
was his custom to draw largely while occupied 
with his sitters — apparently for their amuse- 
ment; hut his object was rather, hy thus ban- 
ishing all restraint, to call forth, if possible, 
some involuntary traits of natural character. 
But these glimpses of character, mixed as they 
are in all men with so much that belongs to 
their age and association, would have been of 

20 



dMb*i 



—J 



The " Qibbs-Channing" Washington 

little use to the ordinary observer ; for the fac- 
ulty of distinguishing between the accidental 
and the permanent — in other words, between the 
conventional expression which arises from man- 
ners and the more subtle indication of the indi- 
vidual mind — is indeed no common one; and by 
no one with whom we are acquainted was this 
faculty possessed in so remarkable a degree. 
It was this which enabled him to animate his 
canvas, — not with the appearance of mere gen- 
eral life, but with that peculiar, distinctive life 
which separates the humblest individual from 
his kind. He seemed to dive into the thoughts 
of men, for they were made to rise and speak 
on the surface- Were other evidence wanting, 
this talent alone were sufficient to establish his 
claims as a man of genius, since it is the privi- 
lege of genius alone to measure at once the 
highest and the lowest. In his happiest efforts, 
no one ever surpassed him in embodying (if we 
may so speak) these transient apparitions of the 
soul. x 

"In a word, Gilbert Stuart was, in its widest 
sense, a philosopher in his art; he thoroughly 
understood its principles, as his works bear wit- 
ness, — whether as to the harmony of colors, or 
of lines, or of light and shadow, — showing that 

21 



The " Qibbs-Channing" Washington 

exquisite sense of a whole which only a man of 
genius can realize and embody. 

" We cannot close this brief notice without a 
passing record of his generous bearing toward 
his professional brethren. He never suffered 
the manliness of his nature to darken with the 
least shadow of jealousy ; but where praise was 
due he gave it freely, and gave it, too, with a 
grace which showed that, loving excellence for 
its own sake, he had a pleasure in praising. To 
the younger artists he was uniformly kind and 
indulgent, and most liberal of his advice, which 
no one ever properly asked but he received, 
and in a manner no less courteous than im- 
pressive. The unbroken kindness and friend- 
ship with which he honored the writer of this 
imperfect sketch will never be forgotten. In 
the world of art Mr. Stuart has left a void that 
will not soon be filled. And well may his 
country say, 'A great man has passed from 
amongst us/ But Gilbert Stuart has bequeathed 
her what is paramount to power, — since no 
power can command it, — the rich inheritance 
of his fame." 



22 



MATTERS OF FACT 



In confirmation of Alston's reference to Stuart's "high 
reputation as a portrait painter, as well in Ireland as in Eng- 
land" (Stuart spent seventeen years there), the following 
list of portraits of distinguished subjects painted during that 
period, and engraved in mezzotint, and published from 1781 
(only six years after Stuart arrived in London) down to 1806, 
taken from John Chaloner Smith's work on English mezzo- 
tints, will be found most interesting. These engravings are 
all of folio size, and for the full lengths, of which there are 
several ; the plates are extra large, and executed by the best 
engravers of the period. Fine-proof impressions of some of 
these plates fetch at auction sales sometimes as much as 
the artist received for the original painting. It is amusing 
to note the various ways the painter's name was engraved on 
the plate. Often it was Stewart instead of Stuart, most fre- 
quently it was C. G., then simply G. or J.— then Gabriel 
which was affixed to the line engraving by James Heath of 
the Lansdowne picture, published in 1800. One plate at- 
tributed the painting to " Gainsboro and Stuart " (there is a 
small line-engraving of J. S. Copley, the painter, which is 
attributed to Gainsborough, but really painted by Stuart). 
We give the name of the subject, name of the mezzotint en- 
graver, and date of the publication (as per J. G. Smith) : 
Pothergill, John, M.D., V. Green, 1781. Rogers, Rev. John 

23 



The " Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

(engraver's name not given), published 1785. Kemble, John, 
as Richard HI., G. Keating, 1788. Manchester, George Mon- 
tague, Duke of, John Jones, 1790. Fitzgibbon, Lord John, 
C. H. Hodges, 1790. Beresford, Right Hon. John, C. H. 
Hodges, 1790. Cleaver, Eusby, Bromley, 1790. Leinster, Wm. 
Robert, Duke of, C. H. Hodges, 1790. Grattan, Rt. Hon. 
Henry, C. H. Hodges, 1792. Poster, John, Rt. Hon., C. H. 
Hodges, 1792. Conyngham, Rt. Hon. Wm. B., C. H. Hodges, 
1792. Brownlow, Rt. Hon. Wm., C. H. Hodges, 1792. 
Jervis, Sir John, Robert Laurie, 1794. Carnarvon, Rt. Hon., 
Earl of, W. Ward, 1795. Harvey, Captain John, J. Murphy, 
1795. Shaw, Robert, W. Ward, 1797. Lewis, John, R. Meld 
(no date). St. Vincent, the Earl of, J. R. Smith, 1797. St. 
Vincent, the Earl of (quite a different picture), W. Barnard, 
1798. Duke of Northumberland, Charles Turner, 1804. Mal- 
ton, Mr. Thomas, Wm. Barney, 1806. Preston, Rev. William, 
W. Dickinson (no date). Sidney, Lord Viscount, Jno. Young 
(no date). 
(Mr. Avery has a set of these rare mezzotints.) 
In addition to the above, numerous other engravings have 
been published in England from portraits painted by Stuart, 
during his residence abroad, executed in line or stipple, by 
Wm. Sharp, Bartolozzi, Facius, Meyer, Holloway, Ridley, Hull, 
Fry, Caroline Watson, and others. 

The " Gibbs-Channing " Washington, by Gilbert Stuart, 
1795, measures 25 by 30 inches—a favorite size of Stuart's ; 
it is painted on canvas with a kind of surface generally used 
by him. The head and features are firmly modeled, the flesh 
has those delicate gradations of carnation which he handled 
so ably, rich and refined at the same time ; the black velvet 
coat has all the texture and sheen of the material itself, no 
part being at all vague, the white shirt-ruffle shows that firm 
and peculiar " touch " which artists have always admired in 
such details by Stuart. The background is made up of a cur- 

24 



The " Gfibbs-Channing" Washington 

tain, exquisitely expressed in delicate shades of olive-green- 
gray color; at the right is an opening with a landscape sug- 
gested. This treatment is a distinguishing feature of this 
particular representation of the first sitting, each of the other 
examples having red backgrounds. It is seldom that a work of 
art has remained so long in the one family, over eighty years 
have passed during its ownership by three persons — sacredly 
guarded, never tampered with, perfectly transmitted. 

The earliest public exhibition of this painting of which we 
have found any record is when it was on view, with a consid- 
erable number of Stuart's portraits, at the Museum of Fine 
Arts, Boston, during the summer of 1860, when it attracted 
admiration, surprise and discussion. Previous to that time it 
could only have been seen by the personal friends of the 
Gibbs and Ghanning families. Mr. Avery never saw the pic- 
ture until 1888, when it was in the care of the poet, Mr. E. C. 
Stedman (a relative of Dr. Ghanning), who put it on view, for 
an evening, at a monthly meeting of the u Century n Associa- 
tion, New York. Later on Mr. Stedman sent it to the loan 
exhibition in commemoration of the centennial of Washing- 
ton's inauguration 1789-1889, held at the Metropolitan Opera 
House, New York, 1889. Soon after this Mr. Avery pur- 
chased the picture. It was next seen in a loan collection at 
the National Academy of Design 1893-94. During several 
months in 1896, it was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 
a retrospective collection of paintings by American artists, 
and at the Union League Club, New York, February 22, 1897. 
It next figured in the exhibition of engraved portraits of 
Washington held at the Grolier Club, December, 1899, in 
commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of his death. 

The first reproduction of this work of which we have any 
knowledge, is a small photograph taken 1879 by Coleman & 
Co., of Providence, R. I., for Dr. Channing, and which was 
used for the fine line-engraving made by C. Burt, who put in a 
plain, flat background, omitting the curtain and landscape 

25 



The "Gibbs-Channing" Washington 

glimpses, and also for the photogravure by Goupil, of Paris, 
both appearing in the handsome quarto vol.: "The Life and 
Works of Gilbert Stuart," by Geo. C. Mason, Chas. Scribner's 
Sons, N. Y., 1879. There is a large photo-print (rather black) 
of this picture in Elizabeth B. Johnston's work, "The Original 
Portraits of Washington," folio, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1882. 
It was engraved on wood by G. Kruell, from the Coleman 
photograph, for " Harper's Magazine," April, 1889, to accom- 
pany an article on the Centennial celebration. It was also 
represented (but why in an oval form?) in the official " History 
of the Centennial Celebration of George Washington as First 
President of the United States," edited by Clarence Winthrop 
Bowen, Esq., Ph.D., Appleton & Co., 1892. A most excel- 
lent photograph by the " Anneline " process, size 10x13, was 
taken direct from the painting for Mr. Avery by Wm. Kurtz, 
1895. A " half-tone " engraving from that photograph was 
reproduced for " Harper's Magazine," August, 1896, as one of 
the illustrations to Mr. Chas. Henry Hart's article, " Stuart's 
Lansdowne Portrait of Washington." And Thos. Johnson, 
the engraver on wood, executed a very successful rendering 
from the Kurtz photograph (assisted by a close study of the 
painting), which appeared in u Scribner's Magazine" for June, 
1898, for Lodge's "Story of the Revolution." 

The reproductions by the "Albertype" process of the Gibbs-Channing 
painting, the engraving by Holloway of the Vaughan painting, and the por- 
trait of Stuart, after Neagle, were made for this little history by Mr. Edward 
Bierstadt, N. Y. 



26 




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