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Richmond, Virginia: World's Most Accurate Likeness of George Washington

Chiseled from marble, life-size, by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, who spent two weeks in 1785 taking careful measurements of the living Washington. It was considered such a perfect likeness that over 30 copies were made and scattered to other cities and other state capitols; if you've seen a Washington statue, there's a good chance it's this one. Unveiled in 1796, it's held up surprisingly well, sustaining only minor damage from all the castings and some cracks from a nearby pistol duel in 1866.

Virginia State Capitol

1000 Bank St., Richmond, VA
The statue has a place of honor in the center of the 2nd floor rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol.
M-Sa 8-5, Su 1-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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World's Most Accurate Likeness of George Washington

Sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon took his measurements at Mt. Vernon, and also took a plaster life mask of Washington to ensure the most perfect possible likeness. Washington never saw the finished product.

[Roger Crook, 02/01/2020]

Washington statue.

World's Most Accurate Likeness of George Washington

Inside the rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol, Jean-Antoine Houdon's George Washington sculpture is surrounded by busts of the seven other Virginia-born presidents.

Most seem to be good likenesses, although I personally question the William Henry Harrison bust. It doesn't look like Harrison, or at least not 68-year-old President-for-a-month Harrison.

The busts were unveiled in 1931 and are joined by a bust of the Marquis de Lafayette, which, like Washington, was sculpted by Houdon. The 2012 film "Lincoln" was partially filmed in the capitol, and the bust of Woodrow Wilson was temporarily removed from the rotunda to maintain era accuracy.

[Kurt Deion, 07/01/2015]
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Abe and Tad Lincoln StatueAbe and Tad Lincoln Statue, Richmond, VA - < 1 mi.
Poe MuseumPoe Museum, Richmond, VA - < 1 mi.
Mr. SmedleyMr. Smedley, Richmond, VA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
The Powhatan Stone, Richmond, VA - 1 mi.

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