Benjamin Latrobe (1764—1820)

by Benjamin Latrobe (1764—1820)

Watercolor, pen and ink on paper; 16 3/8 x 24 inches. Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens, VA.

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)