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Daniel Horne - Washington and the Key -  OPEN EDITION CANVAS Published by the Greenwich Workshop

          Washington and the Key
by Daniel Horne

Original Retail Price $295.00

Image Size: 22"w x 28"h.
Published: February 2019

With his military experience from serving during the American Revolution, the thirty-two year old Marquis de Lafayette quickly assumed a prominent role in the opening chapter of the French Revolution. After the Bastille fell, Lafayette was placed in command of a local national guard formed to keep order throughout France.

The Bastille main prison key was turned over to Lafayette shortly after the Bastille was stormed on July 14, 1789 by angry citizens rioting in the streets of Paris. Long a symbol of royal despotism, the Bastille was a natural target when violence erupted after severe shortages of bread led the populace into the streets. Lafayette was optimistic about the fate of the revolution when he prepared to ship the Bastille key to George Washington in March of 1790.

Several months passed before the gift finally arrived at its destination. On the first leg of the journey Lafayette entrusted the key to Thomas Paine, well-known for his participation in the American Revolution. The actual presentation to George Washington late in the summer of 1790 was an honor that fell to John Rutledge, Jr., a South Carolinian returning to the United States from London.

The principal key to the Bastille is made of wrought iron and weighs one pound, three ounces. Washington's prominent display of this celebrated souvenir in the presidential household illustrated his appreciation to his French pupil as well as recognition of its symbolic importance in America. Shown first at a presidential levee in New York in August, the key continued to be showcased in Philadelphia when the seat of government moved there in the fall of 1790.

Shortly before Washington's retirement from the presidency in 1797, the key was taken to Mount Vernon and given a place of honor in the first floor passage. Washington's death in 1799 brought little disturbance of the Mansion's interior. However, that changed upon Martha Washington's death in 1802. With her passing, only a few original furnishings—those acquired by Bushrod Washington—were left in the mansion. The key remained in place in the mansion's passage during the next three generations of Washingtons who occupied Mount Vernon.

In 1824 a special reunion took place at Mount Vernon. The Marquis de Lafayette and his son George Washington Lafayette began a year-long tour of the United States. At Mount Vernon they found the principal key of the Bastille. For Lafayette it was a highly charged moment of sentimental reflection on past events of international significance and personal triumph.

Lafayette and his son were but two of the thousands of pilgrims who made their way annually to Mount Vernon to view the home and tomb of George Washington. This tribute was an ever-increasing burden to the Washington family who frequently accommodated their domestic comfort to visitors' schedules. In 1858, John A. Washington III, the last of the family to reside at Mount Vernon, sold the property to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. His gift to the Association of more than a dozen objects once owned by George Washington included the Bastille key that held such a prominent place in the mansion and amongst Washington's possessions.

Daniel Horne
Daniel was born in Pittsburgh Pa. into an artistic family, where his mother and grandmother were doll artists. Daniel’s artistic awakening stemmed from the story telling paintings and sculptures that he was surrounded by in the Catholic Church that he attended as a child. These powerful influences fired Daniel’s imagination, and sent him down the road to telling his own stories through his art. While attending art school, Daniel had the rare privilege of apprenticing with master artist, illustrator and storyteller in paint, Ken Laager. Ken schooled Daniel in the Howard Pyle School of illustration, where the focus was on characterization, mood and setting. Within Daniel’s career as a painter, sculptor, and doll maker, he has been fortunate to have over 400 published paperback covers to his credit, and a prize-winning children’s book. He has paintings and one of a kind art dolls, in galleries and many private collections from Hong Kong to New York. Daniel also had the honor of painting an 8-foot painting that appeared in the Guillermo del Toro movie, entitled Crimson Peak. More recently, the theme “America’s Quiet History”, (the lesser known events in our nation’s history), has become the focus of Daniel’s art, as well as his newfound love of creating images of Christmas and Santa Claus. Daniel resides in Cherry Hill, NJ with his wife Joy, and has two children, Jennifer and Andrew. Daniel lives by the quote that the father of American illustration, Howard Pyle so aptly said: “Throw your heart into your paintings and leap in after it.”


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