Washington at Verplanck’s Point

This portrait depicts a triumphant General Washington standing near his headquarters tent at the 1782 Verplanck’s Point encampment. John Trumbull painted this portrait as a gift for Martha Washington in 1790 to show his “profound respect” for her. The Washingtons put it on display in the “New Room” at Mount Vernon, one of the impressive entertainment spaces in their home. George Washington Parke Custis considered this painting of his step-Grandfather “the most perfect extant.”

Trumbull, a former aide-de-camp to General Washington, witnessed the grand encampment of the Continental Army in 1782 and made sketches of what he saw. He included details of the scene in the background of this portrait. The tents of the New Jersey and New York brigades, adorned with brush arbors, are visible below Washington’s horse. The French Army can be seen passing in review between two long lines of Continental soldiers. The large American flag on the hill near the horse’s nose marks the location of Fort Lafayette, a fortification built earlier in the Revolutionary War to defend the crucial Hudson River crossing at King’s Ferry.

Washington at Verplanck's Point"
Painted by John Trumbull
New York, New York
Oil on canvas
Gift of Henry Francis du Pont, Courtesy of Winterthur Museum