American Friends of Lafayette

June 19, 2012

I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Friends of Lafayette, which took me to Washington, D.C. This year’s program was especially exciting for me because we visited a couple of places that I mention in Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty. We started our tour with a visit to Mount Vernon, where Washington displayed the key to the Bastille that Lafayette sent him after the fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Looking up at the porch at Mount Vernon

Key to the Bastille in ParisWashington’s home was already open to the public in 1871 and Auguste Bartholdi (the statue’s sculptor) came here Lafayette's Room at Mount Vernon

during his exploratory visit to the U.S. and saw both the key and “Lafayette’s Room.”

In the afternoon we were treated to a special visit to the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives to see the portrait of Lafayette by Ary Scheffer. Scheffer gave the portrait to Congress in 1824-25 during Lafayette’s spectacular 13-month-long “guest of the nation” tour of the United States. The House of Representatives commissioned a portrait of George Washington for the other side of the speaker’s rostrum—and the portraits of these two Revolutionary War heroes have hung together in the House Chamber since the 1830s (they were moved into the new Chamber when the House moved in 1858).  Portrait of Lafayette by Ary Scheffer

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One Response to “American Friends of Lafayette”

  1. Christel Zimmermann Leach Says:

    My great granfather’s cousin was prime minister Pierre Laval whose daughter Josee Laval married Renee de chambrun , a relative of Lafayette.


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