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A rare likeness of George Washington

April 18, 2018

One of my favorite things to occasionally give as a gift to friends, colleagues, and supporters of the New England Historic Genealogical Society is this hand-casted likeness in plaster of George Washington. This rare image, which is duplicated from an 19th c. antique copy in my possession, is known at the "Homer Likeness of George Washington," and is thought to be a duplicate of the original work of an as yet unidentified 18th French artist in America.

 

I made the example above and framed it in a gold leaf shadow box. The plaster is set upon handmade marbleized paper I purchased a boutique in Venice, Italy a number of years ago. I make these plaster profiles in small batches, hand finish them, and number them. I then leave it up to recipients as to whether or not they wish to frame them. 

 

From the original label, dated July 4, 1861, on the "Homer Likeness of Washington" is the following information:

 

"Duplicate of a likeness of Washington, which has been in the family of the late George Homer, Esq., of Boston, as near as can be judged, upwards of sixty years. It has been conjectured that it was executed by one of the many French artists who came to this country in the time of the Revolution." 

 

I am grateful to Clayton Austin and his colleagues at the Boston Ornament Company for teaching me in the time-tested ways of classical plasterers. In future posts, I will write about plaster copies of busts I am making of Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams. 

 

At an event last week in Washington, D.C., I was especially excited to give this likeness to friends David Trebing and Brantley and Peter Knowles. Brantley descends from the Washington family! That was a first.

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