George Washington (1732–1799) became a Freemason in 1752. This portrait of him in Masonic regalia was commissioned by the pharmaceutical entrepreneur and Freemason, Henry Wellcome in 1899 to commemorate the centenary of his death. It was painted by the American artist Robert Gordon Hardie, who studied existing portraits of Washington before completing the commission. Washington’s pose is taken from a portrait by Gilbert Stuart in 1796, which is now at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D. C. George Washington was given his Masonic regalia by Adrienne de Lafayette, wife of the Marquis de Lafayette, a French revolutionary who fought for the Americans in the Revolutionary War (1775–1783). It is this regalia that Hardie painted Washington as wearing. The portrait was presented by Wellcome to the United Grand Lodge of England in 1900, and was unveiled in 1902 at a ceremony attended by the United States Ambassador, Joseph Hodges Choate.
Where to see this painting?
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection
More on this painting
presented by Henry S. Wellcome to the United Grand Lodge of England, 1900