PAIR OF RARE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PRINTS (WASHINGTON.) G. Washington in his Last Illness, Attended by Doc'rs Craik and Brown / Lived Respected and Fear'd--Died Lamentd and Rever'd. Pair of hand-colored etchings, 11 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches; marginal wear, moderate soiling, several early repairs to each, including 4 small fills in the image area of the second print near the margins. Can be shipped with period frames. Philadelphia: Pember & Luzarder, 1800
The first piece is a deathbed scene, with one of the two physicians checking Washington's pulse and Martha Washington weeping at the foot of the bed. A bottle of medicinal port sits on the bedside table. Below are four lines of verse: "Americans behold & shed a grateful Tear / For a man who has gained yo'r freedom most dear / And now is departing unto the realms above / Where he may ever rest in lasting peace & love." This print was not issued with an imprint line, but was issued as a companion piece with "Lived Respected and Fear'd." "Its stark and unadorned simplicity . . . is truly a prototype for that favorite of lithographic images in the nineteenth century, the deathbed scene"--Wick 73.
The companion print shows Washington's portrait atop a funeral urn. Above him flies the angel Fame bearing a scroll titled "Tears of America." The mourners are allegorical figures of Columbia (bearing an uncanny resemblance to Martha Washington in the earlier print) and Justice (holding her scales). This also has four verses below: "Columbia lamenting the loss of her Son / Who redeem'd her from Slav'ry & Liberty won / While Fame is directed by Justice spread / The sad tidings afar that Washington's dead." This is the second of 3 states of this engraving. The first, identified by Hart as 644a, had a portrait after Wright. This second state replaces the portrait with one after Stuart. The more commonly seen third state erases the final words "& Luzarder 1800" from the imprint line.
Provenance: sold as a pair at Sloan's Auction Galleries circa 1985 to Alexandria, VA dealer Sumpter Priddy; "Lived Respected and Fear'd" sold shortly thereafter to the consignor; "Last Illness" spotted in a 2001 auction, withdrawn, and sold to the consignor to reunite the pair. One other traced at auction since 1929, a "Last Illness" at a 2011 auction. 3 in OCLC. Deutsch, "Washington Memorial Prints," in Antiques, February 1977, pages 326 and 329, figures 5 and 13; Fowble 205-6; Hart 644 (Lived Respected only); Wick 72-73.