This famous portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart is called “The Lansdowne Portrait” because it had been commissioned as a gift for England’s Marquis of Lansdowne, an American sympathizer. It was very popular and a good part of Stuart’s career was painting copies of the original. One version hung in the White House at its burning by British troops during the war of 1812 and was legendarily rescued by Dolly Madison. Most state capitols had a version. Stuart even used this painting as a model for an unfinished portrait of Washington that is depicted on the dollar bill.
Stuart had lived in Philadelphia’s Germantown section. and, since the painting was so well known, it is not a stretch to think it may have inspired Richard Griffith to suggest the name “Lansdowne” to replace the confusing “Darby Station.” (See blogs for June 22, 2007, and May 18 and 22, 2008.) It is reasonable, but admittedly circumstantial, that Griffith was more familiar with the painting than with the Marquis himself or his English landholdings, and, therefore, Lansdowne was really named for the painting.