In the Presence of Washington

No wartime images of the interior of Washington’s tent are known to survive. This 1897 painting by American illustrator Howard Pyle, however, provides a sense of what it looked like inside the Commander in Chief’s headquarters. Pyle composed this illustration for Philadelphia author S. Weir Mitchell’s popular book Hugh Wynne, a fictional story about a Philadelphia Quaker who joined Washington’s staff during the Revolutionary War. Pyle often used historical artifacts as props in his paintings. When Pyle visited the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia, he probably saw General Washington’s tent, uniform, sword, and camp equipment on display. He may have recalled that experience while painting this scene. In 1909, Pyle visited the Washington Memorial Chapel at Valley Forge and again saw Washington’s tent, now on display at the Museum of the American Revolution. 

In the Presence of Washington
Painted by Howard Pyle
Oil on Canvas
Biggs Museum of American Art