When The state of Virginia sent a bronze statue of George Washington to be displayed outside The National Gallery in London, they also sent a ton of earth to respect Washington’s vow that he would never set foot on English soil.
In the early 20th century (1908 or 1909), the Commonwealth of Virginia commissioned a new cast to be added to the National Statuary Hall Collection. It is now one of six statues located in theUnited States Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.
In 1910 an act of the general Assembly of Virginia stated, “That the permission and authority of the State of Virginia be …. granted to the Gorham Manufacturing Company …. to make further copies or reproductions of the Houdon statue of George Washington from the molds now in possession of said company… belonging to the State of Virginia, for any National, State, Territorial, County of Municipal Government ……
for any university, college, school, library, art gallery, or other educational institution: for any patriotic society ….. related to the history and achievements of George Washington.” Each copy was to be stamped with the great seal of Virginia and the phrase, “Copied from the original by Houdon…” Gorham was to pay the state $500 for every statue made. The Virginia legislature banned future taking of molds, and so the subsequent casts were made from existing molds.
The known locations of the Gorham casts include:
In 1910, the Virginia General Assembly presented a bronze copy to the people of France using the Gorham molds.
Jefferson Memorial Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1910
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1911
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, dedicated 1913.
the Art Institute of Chicago, 1917
This work was originally placed in front of the museum, but in 1979 was moved indoors, and is presently in the Chicago City Hall.
the National Gallery in London, 1921
The state of Virginia sent a ton of earth for the statue to be placed in, to respect Washington’s vow that he would never set foot on English soil.
Lima, Peru, dedicated July 4, 1922.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1922
The statue was first given to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1922 and then moved to Washington Square in 1954
National Heritage Museum, Lexington, Massachusetts; cast 1924.
Further copies were produced for the bicentennial of Washington’s birth, and are located in:
Inside the Washington Monument
Fair Oaks Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota, donated 1931, dedicated 1932
Obtained by a local branch of the DAR.
Valley Forge National Historical Park, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Civic Center Plaza, Los Angeles, California; cast and presented 1933.
City College of New York, 1931
Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island. Dedicated 1932.
Albany, New York, dedicated 1932.
the quad at George Washington University, 1932