Dark interior of the crumbling kitchen at Mount Vernon, with an enslaved woman and three children in front of an open hearth
Original Author: Eastman Johnson
Created: 1864
Medium: Oil on board

Washington’s Kitchen, Mount Vernon

In this mid-nineteenth century painting by Eastman Johnson, an enslaved woman with a small child in her lap and two other young enslaved children sit in front of an open fire in the kitchen that served the mansion at Mount Vernon. The crumbling walls and dark interior create a somber evocation of the life of the enslaved. The kitchen was located in a separate building a short distance from the main house and connected by a covered colonnaded walkway. The artist visited Mount Vernon in 1857 and painted at least six versions of this kitchen scene between 1857 and 1865.