Purchased from the late Wm. Vaughan, Esq., London. On the back of the canvas is written, "General Washington by Mr. Stuart." Extract from Rembrandt Peale's lecture on the portraits of Washington: "Mr. Stuart's first portrait of Washington was painted simultaneously with mine, in September, 1795. From this portrait he made five copies; but becoming dissatisfied with it, some years afterwards sold it for two hundred dollars to Winstanley, the landscape painter. Of this I was informed by Dr. Thornton, in Washington, soon after its occurrence, so that it was not literally rubbed out as has been supposed. Winstanley took it to London, where it was bought by Mr. Wm. Vaughan, and is now in the possession of Joseph Harrison, Jr., of Philadelphia, who has permitted me to copy it. Although this portrait was not satisfactory to Mr. Stuart, yet I think in the lower portion of the face it has the advantage over the portrait he afterwards painted. A small copy of it I have seen in Baltimore, certified on the back by Robert Gilmore, as painted for him by James House, from Stuart's first portrait of Washington. To me it was interesting in making this copy from the work of a fellow-artist, to study his first impressions of the living countenance of Washington--and to others it should be equally interesting to observe how the artist may, more or less accurately, mark what he sees . . . " [P. 7.]
Catalogue of Pictures, Statuary, and Bronzes in the Gallery of Joseph Harrison, Jr., Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. 1870.