"A letter of Stuart's, which appeared in the New-York Evening Post, in 1833, attested by three gentlemen of Boston, with one from Washington, making the appointment for a sitting, proves the error long current in regard both to the dates and the number of this artist's original portraits of washington. He there distinctly states that he never executed but three from life, the first of which was so unsatisfactory that he destroyed it; the second was the picture for Lord Lansdowne; and the third, the one now belonging to the Boston Athenaeum. The finishing touches were put to the one in September, 1795, to the other, at Philadelphia, in the spring of 1796. This last, it appears by a letter of Mr. Custis, which we have examined, was undertaken against the desire of Washington, and at the earnest solicitation of his wife, who wished a portrait from life of her illustrious husband, to be placed among the other family-pictures, at Mount Vernon. For this express purpose, and to gratify her, the artist commenced the work, and Washington agreed to sit once more. It was left, intentionally, unfinished, and when subsequently claimed by Mr. Custis, who offered a premium upon the original price, Stuart excused himself, much to the former's dissatisfaction, on the pica that it was a requisite legacy for his children."--Putnam's Magazine, 1855. [P. 9.]
Boston Athenaeum. Catalogue of Paintings and Statuary, exhibited for the Benefit of the National Sailors' Fair, at the Athenaeum Gallery, Beacon Street, Boston. 1864. Boston: Fred Rogers, Printer, No. 159 Washington Street, opposite the Old South Church. 1864. Price of Catalogue, twenty-five cents.