W05 Portrait 1798

Gilbert Stuart 1798 Portrait of George Washington – The Oliver-Blight Portrait

Gilbert Stuart painted this wonderful portrait of our nation’s first president in 1798. In the Athenaeum style, this is the first portrait image of President George Washington to be seen in Asia. It was carried onboard a China clipper ship by Captain James Blight to Canton, China in 1800. Where it was used to create porcelain plates and bowls depicting Washington.

The story takes a turn when Captain Blight brought back Chinese reverse-on-glass paintings which were copies of this iconic portrait to sell in the United States. Gilbert Stuart filed suit to block Captain Blight’s enterprise and Stuart won. This beautiful portrait measures 29 x 23 inches and is in an original 19th century frame. Illustrated in Mantle Fielding’s work as number 50; in Mason on page 113 and 115; Morgan and Fielding page 283, number 50; Park’s Volume II, number 51 and Eisen’s Volume I, page 165.