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Washington at the Delaware

1848-1849
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Bucks County
Unframed: 36 1/8 x 47 3/8in. (91.8 x 120.3cm) and Framed: 37 1/2 x 48 5/8in.
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1957.101.1
A night scene featuring a uniformed man astride a white horse at front center, the horse agitated and turning its head toward center. To the right of the rider, another man in a long buff-colored coat starts to mount a chestnut horse and, beyond him, several other horseback riders are discernible in the dim light. At upper left, a moon partially shows beneath cloud cover. Beneath it, a body of water is discernible, with other men clustered on its shoreline at far left.

The 1-inch, flat, brown-painted frame is a modern addition.
Label:An inscription reveals that Edward Hicks painted this picture for Dr. Maurice (also spelled "Morris") P. Linton (d. 1872), a Newtown physician and dentist who was the son of Hicks's friend James Linton. The picture may have been an outright gift, or it may have been used to defray medical expenses. Hicks painted several versions of George Washington's fabled nighttime transit of the Delaware River in order to surprise the Hessian army at Trenton in December 1776. All of Hicks's versions ultimately derived from Thomas Sully's 1819 painting of the event, which Hicks probably knew via George S. Lang's engraving after it.

Two of Hicks's earliest versions of the composition served as signboards that originally hung at either end of the bridge that crossed the Delaware River from Taylorsville, Pennsylvania, to New Jersey. Hicks admired Washington's leadership, and on several occasions, he wrote about the significance of the War for Independence and Washington's role in it.
Provenance:Dr. Maurice [sometimes spelled "Morris"] P. Linton (d. 1872), Newtown, Pa.; to his great-nephew, Henry L. Ridge, Langhorne, Pa.; M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY.
Inscription(s):Inscribed in black paint at lower left is: "Painted by Edw. Hicks in the 69th year of his age/for Doctor M. Linton of Newtown, son of his/old Friend & fellow Soldier, James Linton". In the center below the horse is: "George Washington with his army crosing [sic] the Delaware/at McConkey Ferry the night before he took the Hessians, Dec. 25, 1776."