, , , ,

An Indian Mourning Washington, Chinese School ca. 1799. American Museum in Britain, 58.124

Today marks the 214th anniversary of the death of George Washington, memorialized here in a Chinese reverse-on-glass painting. I suspect that the figure of the Indian personifies the North American continent rather than the actual tribes, given Washington’s role in the French and Indian war, but that’s only a guess.

Lucy Child, 1800. RIHS Museum Collection, 1922.4.1

Washington was memorialized in Rhode Island as he was everywhere else, with eulogies and speeches, and letter of condolence to his widow, who wrote back to four young ladies of Providence, enclosing a lock of hair.

Memorial samplers and embroidered pictures were popular projects for girls and young women in 1799, and the RIHS Collection holds a [sadly worn] tribute to Washington.

Fortunately, the National Society of Colonial Dames of America holds a sampler with the same text, made in 1803.

Columbia’s fair daughters forever shall / mourn While genius stands weeping at / Washington’s Urn. Let hope still support / you Fair daughters arise. In faith that your / Washington’s soard to the skies. Where / still as your guardian he’ll ever preside. / To virtue and goodness the Polestar and / guide.

They just don’t write poetry quite like that anymore.