An Artist Visits the White House Past

Paintings by Peter Waddell

A Vision Takes Form

The White House Under Construction, 1796

Although he never lived there, President George Washington not only selected the site of the new President’s House, but also oversaw its construction to his particular specifications and demands. He was adamant that it be grand, with a façade of stone, not brick. Designed by the Irish-born architect James Hoban, the mansion was built with the labor of slaves, freemen, Irish artisans, and Scottish stone masons, whose marks can still be found on the White House today.


Historian William Seale on A Vision Takes Form

"An Artist Visits the White House Past" (if no audio, click here)

In Depth

Read William Seale’s catalog essay for A Vision Takes Form, and discover the historical resources used to create the painting.

All images © the White House Historical Association except where otherwise noted.