Home of Washington


T. P. Rossiter and L. R. Mignot. “The Home of Washington.” New York: Henry T. Williams, [1863].  Engraved by Thomas Oldham Barlow.  18 7/8 x 29 7/8.  Very good condition.


A classic American historical print, with a scene which expresses the ideals of the American gentleman farmer and which features more than meets the eye at first glance.  This pleasing picture shows George Washington on the porch of the East Front of Mount Vernon with the Potomac River in the background.  The bucolic setting and at leisure figures had a serious message for the print’s audience.  Issued during the American Civil War, the print represents the ideal for America from a Northern perspective.  Washington is conversing with John Jay, principal author of The Federalist Papers and thus a representative of the position supporting centralized power for the federal government.  The elements of peace and family are present with the gentlemen in relaxed conversation and the ladies engaged in polite activities, while two children play with a toy cannon nearby.  The message is that it would be better that war should be only an imaginary event, the powder horn lying on the grass in the foreground and labeled “1776,” representing the last war that American should have had to fight.  To see the parallels of Washington with Robert E. Lee, also a Virginian and a general, is to recognize the propaganda value of this well executed print.