Oil on canvas. Independence National Historical Park, Portrait Collection (Second Bank of the United States), Philadelphia, PA.
In a land where horsemanship was often men’s touchiest point of pride, Jefferson had to admit he never saw Washington’s like for grace and control in the saddle. A froniter runner and Indian wrestler — his friend George Mercer described his frame as
padded with well-developed muscles — Washington had by 1774 refined mere energy down to a grace of least movement, the higher athleticism of the dance. And he danced well.