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James Monroe (Engraving)

Artist/Maker: Thomas Gimbrede (1781-1832), engraver, after John Vanderlyn (1775-1852)

Created: 1817

Origin/Purchase: Washington, D.C.

Materials: engraving

Dimensions: image: 30.2 × 19.4 (11 7/8 in. × 7 5/8 in.)

Location: Parlor

Owner: Private collection

Historical Notes: In 1822 Thomas Jefferson instructed his granddaughter Ellen Randolph, who was then in Washington, to purchase an engraving of President James Monroe based on the portrait by John Vanderlyn, and busts of Monroe and James Madison by the Italian émigré sculptor Pietro (Peter) Cardelli. Although Ellen acquired all three works of art, none survives.1

Jefferson had a profound influence on Monroe's political career. They first met in Williamsburg, in about 1779, while Jefferson served as governor. He encouraged Monroe, fifteen years his junior, to further his political career by studying law.

Both were elected to Congress in 1783. Before Jefferson left for France in 1784 he introduced Monroe to James Madison. Jefferson encouraged both to move near Monticello, in Albemarle County, so that they could create there a "society of taste."2 Although Madison never accepted Jefferson's offer, Monroe twice owned homes in Albemarle, one of which, Highland, is located only two and one-half miles from Monticello.3

- Text from Stein, Worlds, 172

  • 1. Jefferson to Ellen Randolph, February 2, 1822, Private Collection (transcription available at Founders Online); Randolph to Jefferson, March 22, 1822, Private Collection (transcription available at Founders Online).
  • 2. Jefferson to Monroe, December 18, 1786, in PTJ, 10:612. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  • 3. Highland, also known as Ash Lawn-Highland, is now owned by the College of William and Mary.
Filed In: 
Objects, Engravings

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