Charles H. Wells (1832–1884), most often known simply by C.H. Wells, was an American artist active in Philadelphia. The publication of this wood engraving made this view of George Washington's home and grave at Mount Vernon one of his best known images. The print also indicates that an F. Collins printed the image and that it was published by J.H. Byram in Philadelphia. For Wells, however, this print is particularly poignant as, upon his death, he was buried in Philadelphia's Mount Vernon Cemetery.
Images of George Washington's home and tomb were popular through the mid-nineteenth century as part of the spread of patriotic imagery and the development of the mythology of the founding of the United States. Characters like Washington were celebrated and beloved, and Washington's home and tomb themselves became important tourist destinations and pilgrimage sites. Indeed, in the image, small figures can be seen promenading across the grounds and enjoying the expansive vista. The figures and view follow the tradition of the picturesque landscape, with the men and women dwarfed by the neatly-framed trees, hills and Potomac river.
"Drawn on the spot and in colors by C.H. Wells" lower left
"Printed in oil colors by F. Collins" lower right
"Engraved and Published by J.H. Byram 112 South Third St., Philadelphia" bottom center
Framed to conservation standards using archival materials including 100 percent rag mounting materials, Museum Glass to reduce glare and inhibit UV fading, and housed in the original lemon gold wood moulding.
Overall good stable condition; general toning to paper; colors bright and unfaded; housed in the original frame featuring distress consistent with age