Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 73 x 60.5 cm (28 3/4 x 23 13/16 in). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Athenaeum portrait. Oil on canvas.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; height: 42.55 cm (16.75 in), width: 32.39 cm (12.75 in) Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, RI.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm). Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 895 x 698 mm. Tate, London, England.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 35 1/2 in. x 27 1/2 in. (902 mm x 699 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 26 1/2 in. x 22 1/4 in. (673 mm x 565 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 91.6 x 76.4 cm (36 1/16 x 30 1/16 in.) National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

Washington’s refusal to accept a salary for his services was emblematic of his somewhat ostentatious public virtue. He did open a public expense account, however, and some have claimed that he made money from it by overcharging Congress. In fact, the £150 per month that he requested for expenses was not just for him, but also for his entourage, which sometimes swelled to a crowd. His account books, which still exist, list charges for things like ferry fares, innkeepers’ fees, candlesticks, saddle repair, meat, fruit, mounds of cabbages and beets, and (admittedly) oceans of grog, liquor, and wine. Washington even charged Congress for fifteen shillings Cash paid a beggar by the General’s order. But although he was not averse to placing his headquarters in the occasional mansion, he otherwise made do with precious few luxuries.

Edward G. Lengel
General George Washington: A Military Life (2005)