Inaugurations, Pop-Tarts and Miniatures

 

"William Birch miniature of George Washington"

George Washington by William Birch, after Gilbert Stuart

Today is the inaugural day of our first President. On April 30, 1789 George Washington woke up, I’m assuming put in his legendary false teeth, kissed his wife Martha who handed him his briefcase and a couple of Pop-Tarts (my favorite are the brown sugar cinnamon) on the way out the door, and then headed to Federal Hall in New York City to be sworn in as the first President of the United States of America. He was reportedly quite nervous and unsure of his abilities to take on this new job of politician. Was there a crush of news wagons and sketch artist’s with candles blazing waiting for him as he rode his white horse to the inauguration? Somewhere in the Library of Congress there must be the original news “footage” of this monumental moment left by the paparazzi and reporters of the time.

At our gallery we have the distinct pleasure and opportunity to be custodians of interesting and historically significant objects. One such work is a William Birch miniature of George Washington. A 1933 Antiques Magazine article describes the work of artist William Birch, and the enamel and copper miniatures he created of Washington. George Washington offered to sit for Birch, however the artist chose instead to copy Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of the president. The process of creating enameled works was both labor intensive and uncertain. A significant percentage of enameled miniatures cracked or were destroyed in the firing process. Our work was purchased in the early 1960’s from legendary art and antiques dealer Joe Kindig, and the original bill of sale is available to the purchaser.

In light of the current state of affairs in America, we can only think one thing on the anniversary of this historic day in American history: WWGD (What would George do)?

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