George Washington (The Vaughan type)
American artist, Gilbert Stuart went to Philadelphia in the late autumn of 1794 with the specific purpose of painting a portrait of the President. The sittings took place, according to Stuart's daughter Jane, "toward the spring of 1795." The original portrait, now unlocated, was duplicated by Stuart at least twelve times. Most replicas show Washington in his black velvet suit, in front of a red curtain or a red or neutral background. A small number of portraits show him in a brown coat with yellow metal buttons, in front of a green curtain. The black suit was his choice of apparel for formal state occasions, whereas at Mrs. Washington's receptions, according to a contemporary viewer, the President usually wore "some colored coat and waistcoat, (the only one recollected was brown, with bright buttons)." This painting is unique in showing Washington in a black coat in front of a green curtain. Washington's clothing may have been changed in this painting. Close study reveals a layer of opaque brown paint under the black coat, while X-rays show the use of white paint in highlights on the buttons, now overpainted in black. Such a change supports the tradition in the Gibbs family, the first owners of the portrait, that the painting had been retouched by the artist.