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Washington and his Generals at Yorktown

Origin: America, Virginia and Pennsylvania
Unframed: 20 3/8 x 29 5/8in. (51.8 x 75.2cm) and Framed: 22 3/4 x 31 3/4 x 1 7/8in.
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958-1,A&B
A scene on the shore of a river with six military officers shown standing in uniform on a bank beneath a tree at far right. Much of the middle ground consists of a beach, on which two horsemen appear to be herding together and leading away riderless horses. The bodies of four (or five?) dead horses are strewn along the edge of the water. Beyond the beach, a windmill stands on a cliff above the river, with a zig-zag wall and various buildings to the right of it. At far left, part of the river's far bank is visible, with a three-masted ship, sails furled, to the right of it. Two more ships are visible in the far distance on the horizon. Several sunken ships appear in the river, with only their masts projecting above the water.

The 1 1/2-inch cyma recta, molded, silver-lacquered frame appears to be a replacement dating from about 1830-1850.
In July 1781, General Charles Lord Cornwallis, ordered to establish a coastal embarkation point for British troops in Virginia, chose Yorktown on the south bank and Gloucester Point on the north bank of the York River as the sites for his fortifications. General George Washington’s forces converged on Yorktown in 1781 to begin the siege that resulted in Cornwallis’s October surrender. Several versions of this little painting show Washington and five men, his generals, standing at right and northwest of the village of Yorktown, a few intact ships, sunken ships, and battle debris on the beach. The officers in the front row, left to right, are Major General Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Ma[o]tier, marquis de Lafayette; General George Washington; General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau; and Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman. On the second row, left to right, are Brigadier General Benjamin Lincoln, and Major General Francois-Jean de Beauvoir, chevalier de Chastellux.

Provenance:Francis and Eleanor Millar Bailey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; to their daughter, Abigal Bailey James (Mrs. John Hough James); to her son, John Henry James; to his daughter, Margaret Lynch James (d. unm.); to M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY, which was CWF's source.