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Antique of the Week: Engraving of the Capitol with the First Dome

An engraving of an early Bartlett watercolor of the Capitol rests quietly at Goldsborough Glynn.

As everyone in Kensington knows, Antique Row is one of the community’s points of pride. Howard Avenue and its side streets are lined with shops specializing in antique furniture, rugs, vintage toys, used books and more. This large presence in the community sparked our feature, Antique of the Week, where we will showcase a different item or curiosity each week to bring attention to pieces from the past.

This week, we’re taking a look at an engraving of the Capitol as it was completed in 1826. Margaret Goldsborough, one of the proprietors at , said that the English artist, William Henry Bartlett, painted the original using watercolors, and another Englishman, Robert Brandard, did the engraving in 1839.

Take a closer look at the engraving, and you will see a diverse group of people clustered around the grounds of the Capitol. This engraving also shows the Capitol when the first dome was constructed after the British partially burned the Capitol during the War of 1812. Note that this Capitol is much smaller than the current building due to the growing number of legislators who needed to use the Capitol as the United States expanded.

For history buffs, the engraving represents a piece of American history that is included with Bartlett’s other watercolors in the book "American Scenery" as stated on the Senate's website. Goldsborough said that most of Barlett’s watercolors were landscapes of the eastern United States. The Capitol is an exception to Bartett’s typical work, but it is also one of the most recognized watercolors. 

The Senate owns other engravings of Bartett’s images. You can see the original watercolor of the Capitol at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, or you can purchase the engraving for $135 at Goldsborough Glynn, which is located at 3746 Howard Ave. Interested parties can call the shop at 301-933-4460.

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