Provenance: David Eccleston; by gift to Thomas Jefferson; by purchase to John Hartwell Cocke at the dispersal sale in 1827; by descent to Mrs. Mazyck Wilson Shields; by bequest to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1943
Historical Notes: David Eccleston sent Jefferson this medal honoring Washington in 1807, along with two others that he wished forwarded to Bushrod Washington, George Washington's nephew, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall. Eccleston believed the medal to be the largest and in the highest relief that had been struck in England "for some time."1 Jefferson was all the more pleased with Eccleston's work because the artist was British:
[T]hat our own nation should entertain sentiments of gratitude & reverence for the great character who is the subject of your medallion, is a matter of duty. his disinterested & valuable services to them have rendered it so. but such a monument to his memory by the member of another community, proves a zeal for virtue in the abstract, honorable to him who inscribes it, as to him whom it commemorates.2
This medal was one of at least six images of Washington at Monticello; its location in the house in Jefferson's time is unknown.3
1. Eccleston also included an engraving of the medal and an 1805 broadside describing the medal and Washington's qualities. Eccleston to Jefferson, May 20, 1807, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress. Transcription available at Founders Online.
2. Jefferson to Eccleston, November 21, 1807, in L&B, 11:396-97. Transcription available at Founders Online.