The early history of Washington, DC is little known, in part because so few images survive. To fill this void, philanthropist Albert H. Small commissioned Peter Waddell to create two large-scale (5′ x 6′), bird’s-eye-view paintings to bring to life the conception and realization of the Federal City.
The first painting, “The Indispensable Plan 1791”, brings together what is known about the vision Peter Charles L’Enfant offered President Washington. It was to be a magnificent, 600-acre city, the largest in the world at that time.
The second painting, “The Village Monumental 1825”, shows in fascinating detail what was actually built on the banks of the Potomac by the year L’Enfant died.
The paintings, which took two years to create in Waddell’s studio at Tudor Place, mark the first time all the available historical information about plans and structures have been brought together in a visual form.