Oil on canvas. 121.28 x 93.98 cm • 47 3/4 x 37 in. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC; jointly owned with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait), 1796
The Continental soldier often had to provide his own eating utensils, but on occasion they came as standard issue. Maryland troops, for example, were provided a wooden trencher (plate), and bowl, as well as wooden and pewter spoons. Each man would have his knife, of course; and for quaffing his rum, cider, beer, or whiskey, a horn cup, which was extremely light compared with pewter or ceramic. Officers, as might be expected, had more refined utensils. George Washington’s mess kit, for example, was a very elaborate affair housed in a handsome fourteen-compartment wood chest lined with green wool.