Abraham Delanoy, Jr. (1742—95)

by Abraham Delanoy, Jr. (1742—95)

Oil on canvas; 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm). New-York Historical Society, New York, NY.

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.

Garry Wills
Inventing America: Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1978)