Gilbert Charles Stuart was an American portrait painter, born in North Kingston, Rhode Island. He grew up in Newport, R.I., where he studied
painting before going to London in 1775. There he became the pupil of the expatriate American painter Benjamin West and was much influenced by the work of the English portrait painters Thomas Gainsborough and Sir
Joshua Reynolds. In 1792, after establishing himself as a fashionable portrait painter in London and Dublin, Stuart returned to the U.S. His portraits, which number nearly 1000, brought him lasting fame,
particularly the three he did of George Washington. His two most familiar portraits of Washington, of which he made over 100 copies, are the so-called Vaughan half-length type (1795, Metropolitan Museum, New York
City) and the so-called “Athenaeum” portrayal (unfinished; 1796, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Stuart also did portraits of Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison and of the British kings
George III and George IV.