George Washington (1732–1799), LL.D. 1781 Artist: Robert Field (British, ca. 1769–1819)


American Paintings and Sculpture

Not on view

This miniature portrait portrays George Washington as a private individual rather than as a public icon. Painted by Robert Field at Martha Washington’s request on the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death, along with a portrait miniature of Martha herself (1947.222), the portrait was given to her granddaughters. In it, Washington engages the viewer with a slight but tender smile and a direct, intimate gaze. The reverse side of the miniature features a woven lock of Washington’s hair overlaid with his initials GW in gilt foil. Hair, which survives time and decay, was often incorporated into tokens of love and loss.


Watercolor on ivory, in a rose-gold-over-silver locket; reverse: inset compartment with George Washington's hair and a rose-gold cipher, GW


2 3/4 × 2 1/4 in. (7 × 5.7 cm)

Credit Line

John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1896, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Fund

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



The present lot was presented by Martha Washington to Sarah "Sally" Stuart, second born of the two daughters of Eleanor Calvert Custis Stuart (those two also being step-granddaughters of Martha Washington). From Sally, the miniature was intended to go to William Eugene Webster, Sally's nephew, but Webster was killed in the Civil War and the miniature went instead to Sally's great-niece Rosalie Eugenia Stuart. Rosalie willed the miniature to her son, Daniel, and Daniel willed it to his nephew Robert, the consignor.

Sarah "Sally" Waite nee Stuart, 1801, to great niece Rosalie Eugenia Stuart, then to son
Daniel after 1929, to
Robert, his nephew, after 1975.

  • "Acquisitions 2009," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2009): 137, ill.

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

lockets, military history, miniatures (paintings), portraits


signed and dated "RF 1801" l.r.

Technical metadata and APIs


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