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ABOUT THE FRONTISPIECE - George Washington, George Washington: A Collection 
George Washington: A Collection, compiled and edited by W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988).
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ABOUT THE FRONTISPIECE
This “best” representation of Washington remains clouded in mystery as to its provenance. Said to be the work of David d’Angers, it has also been termed a fake by some scholars. The difficulty is that this particular work, which is in marble, was uncovered earlier in this century as the “lost” David gift to the United States that, reportedly, had burned in a fire at the Library of Congress in 1851. When it surfaced, it was purchased by Henry Huntington and now forms part of the collection at The Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Because of the controversy surrounding it, it had never been publicly exhibited prior to September 1985, when it was resurrected from storage as a consequence of our researches.
Apart from the technical difficulties touching the improbability of so fine a representation in marble having survived a fire without noticeable damage, the major obstacle to considering this the work of David is the possibility that the David statue was in bronze. Indeed, a committee of French artists and statesmen in 1904 replaced the “lost” statute with a bronze copy, which now rests in the rotunda of the Capitol. Further, records of the Library of Congress contemporaneous with the fire either refer to the original as bronze or make no mention of it at all. Nor are there any other extant records uncovered to this date which make any reference to the statue. The bronze copy of 1904 was fashioned from a cast model reportedly located at David d’Angers’ studio in France.
The story of the marble bust (as well as the story of the original gift), therefore, remains inconclusive. One may nevertheless attest to the extraordinarily high merit of the bronze bust attributed to David and to the virtually pinpoint precision with which its dimensions and attitudes are reproduced in the marble version now in California.