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A campaign has been launched by the Walter Hines Page Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in London, to arrange for wreaths to be laid on George Washington statues around the world on his birthday, February 22, next year.
Many Americans don’t know the original statue, carved from Carrara marble by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, or the 26 copies that were sent to locations as disparate as Peru, the Dominican Republic, France and the United Kingdom. In fact, if you have ever walked through Trafalgar Square, you may have passed George without realizing it. But there he is, a bronze of Washington stands right in front of the National Gallery.
Based on a life mask taken by Houdon himself, the statue is regarded by many as the best likeness of the founding father and first President of the United States. However when it was commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly in 1784, Washington had not even served in the Constitutional Convention, and he would not become President of the United States until 1789.
The statue was completed in 1791 or ‘92, delivered in 1796 and it now stands proudly in the rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, VA. It shows Washington life-sized and dressed in his military uniform, as he rejected ideas of him being displayed in a Roman toga as many neoclassical statues did.
The DAR arranged a wreath-laying ceremony celebrating Washington’s 286th birthday on February 22, 2018. Holly Smith from the WHP Chapter says that Americans will find their nearest Washington statue and hold a wreath laying or similar ceremony every February 22nd and that his admirers will make sure his statue and plinth are well maintained.
Find more information about the statues and your local DAR Chapter at www.dar.org