William Beechey (1753—1839)

by William Beechey (1753—1839)

Oil on canvas; 92 in. x 57 in. (2337 mm x 1448 mm). National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

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)