The Victory Ball
Original Author: Jean-Léon Gérôme Ferris
Created: ca. 1929
Medium: Oil on canvas
Publisher: Virginia Historical Society

The Victory Ball, 1781

General George Washington is shown dancing with Mrs. Henry Willis of Fredericksburg while his mother, looking rather grim, is seated at left. This fanciful painting was created by Philadelphia artist Jean-Léon Gérôme Ferris in the early twentieth century. Titled The Victory Ball, 1781, this scene supposedly took place in the wake of the French and American victory at Yorktown. Though Washington was renowned for his graceful dancing, it is highly unlikely that he attended such a ball, as his stepson, Jacky Custis, had contracted typhoid fever at Yorktown and died suddenly.