Charles Town gets founder's portrait

July 24, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Washington, the founder of Charles Town, will soon be hanging out in the Jefferson County Courthouse.

An informal group of residents, known both as the Friends of the Court House and the Order of the Clock Tower, presented a portrait of Washington to the Jefferson County Commissioners Thursday.

The group commissioned a Jefferson County artist, Christopher Madden, to paint the portrait of the town's founder and the brother of the nation's first president, George Washington.


Berkeley County Circuit Judge David Sanders, a member of the Friends of the Court House, said the group thought Charles Washington's portrait would be appropriate since he donated the land for the courthouse.

In the background of the portrait is a painting of the courthouse.

Madden has for some time wanted to do historical paintings for the courthouse, including a scene from abolitionist John Brown's treason trial.

Madden used a photograph of a portrait of Charles Washington as a guide. He also used portraits of Washington's more famous brother for inspiration.

Madden, who works with the U.S. Bureau of Engraving designing stamps and currency bills, said he tried to paint it in the "stiff" style of colonial artists of the period.

"The challenge was to create the colonial look," Madden said. "I enjoyed doing it."

Betsy Wells, a member of the group, said she hopes the commissioners place the portrait near the entrance to the courthouse where a bulletin board now is mounted.

The portrait won't be placed on the wall for another two or three weeks, Wells said.

The frame for the portrait is not finished yet, she said. A restoration expert in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., is working on the frame, she said.

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