Viewing page 104 of 174

-2-

interested - for here was an account of the existence of a rare and beautiful portrait of Washington, previously unknown to me, woven in silk, and of world-wide celebrity; only four copies being in the United States ; all this captivating information coming to me by the merest chance. I cut out the printed slip and brought it home with me.

A singular occurrence it was in every respect - a chance visit to this hotel reading room ; the curious coincidence that there should be lying there, neglected, this remnant of an old newspaper, which, in its then torn and rumpled condition, contained in perfect order this particular article.

ORIGINAL HISTORY OF THE SILK WOVEN PORTRAIT.

The Hon. C.S. Goodrich, United States Consul at Lyons, France, in 1855, gives this interesting,account of the weaving of the portrait of Washington in the Jacquard Loom ; the origin, manufacture and completion of this most unique and beautiful work of French artists, they being the only workers in these exquisite fabrics.

"While resident officially in Lyons I had the opportunity of examining several of these silk woven pictures of the sovereigns of Europe. I was desirous to secure one of our own Washington, but as none had ever been made at the request of a private citizen, on account of the long time needed for such work and the large expense, I found it difficult to induce any silk house to engage in so large an undertaking, as from $15,000 to $20,000 would be the cost of the complicated machinery necessary to construct the loom to manufacture the portrait, not to mention several years of time required. After much solicitation I induced the eminent silk house of Pousen, Philippe & Vibert to undertake this great work. A copy of Stuart's portrait was obtained from the United States, now owned by the Boston Athenaeum. As these artists had never before seen a portrait of our first President, I was asked to notice the work as it progressed,and when completed it was pronounced by connoisseurs in Paris the most perfect silk woven portrait ever done in the Jacquard loom.

./..
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.