Saving the Washington Painting
| The full length 1796 portrait by Gilbert Stuart is known as the Lansdowne portrait because it was a gift to the Marquis of Lansdowne, an English supporter of American independence, from Senator and Mrs. William Bingham of Pennsylvania. One of the three copies painted by Stuart was rescued when the British burned the White House in 1814. The question is who saved the Lansdowne painting? Some historians believe it was First Lady Dolley Madison who cut the canvas from the frame, rolling the painting up and wisking it out of the White House with the British but blocks away. Other historians indicate that an African American slave named Paul Jennings who was the body servant to James Madison was the one removed the painting from the doomed White House.