• William Thornton
    Robert Field
    This miniature watercolor on ivory portrait of William Thornton was created by Robert Field circa 1800. Dr. William Thornton was born in the British West Indies in 1759 and gained U.S. citizenship in 1787. Thornton moved to Washington, D.C. after President George Washington chose his design for the U.S. Capitol building and appointed him a city commissioner. Considered the "first architect of the Capitol," Thornton held the role of head of the Patent Office from 1802 until his death in 1828. William Thornton and the creator, Robert Field, were acquaintances. This portrait is a part of the White House Collection.
  • Capture of the City of Washington
    J. & J. Cundee
    War of 1812
    Washington, D.C.
    This engraving of the capture of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 was created by London printers J and J Cundee in 1815 and used as an illustration in an edition of Paul Rapin's multi-volume "History of England." British troops entered and burned the capital, including the White House, on August 24, 1814. Though British forces occupied the city for only a short time, they inflicted serious damage. President James Madison escaped the White House before the attack, but finished out his second term in the nearby Octagon House and a row house in "Six Buildings" complex on Pennsylvania while the White House was rebuilt.
  • Emigrant Scene
    W. H. Powell
    American Indians
    This painting is attributed to William Henry Powell (sometimes known as W.H. Powell), who was a New York City painter and trained under Henry Inman. The painting depicts a group of settlers and their horses around a covered wagon. An American Indian man is in the center of the group and pointing off into the distance, suggesting he is providing directions to the seated figure looking at a map. Powell's "Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto A.D. 1541" hangs in the United States Capitol Rotunda.
  • Kakemono Panel: A Pheasant in Flowering Branches
    Utagawa Kunitsuru
    Decatur House
    This is a kakemono panel (also known as a vertical hanging scroll) containing either text or a painting, intended to be viewed on a wall and rolled when not in use. It was created in 1872 by the artist Utagawa Kunitsuru and depicts a pheasant among flowering branches. This is one of a set of six paintings displayed in the dining room of Decatur House and remain a part of the Decatur House Collection. After nearly 150 years, they began to deteriorate, but with funding provided by the Sumitomo Foundation, they were conserved to their original state.