George Washington so liked Edward Savage’s painting of “The President and His Family, the full size of life,” that he ordered “four stipple engravings” in “handsome, but not costly, gilt frames, with glasses,” and hung one of his purchases over the fireplace mantel in the small dining room at Mount Vernon. As the Washington family—George and Martha, and two of Martha’s orphaned grandchildren, George Washington (“Washy”) and Eleanor (“Nelly”) Custis—took their daily repast, Edward Savage’s tableau of “The President and His Family” looked down upon them. It is likely that Washington favored the portrait above many others because of its intimacy and its affirmation of the future. The family gathers about a table at Mount Vernon, George seated at the left, opposite his wife, Martha. Washy, the younger of the two grandchildren, stands in the left foreground, while Nelly stands at the right in the middle ground. Washington rests his right hand upon the boy’s shoulder; Washy, in turn, holds a compass in his right hand, which he rests upon a globe, in a stance suggesting that succeeding generations of the family were destined to spread the ideals of liberty and democracy around the world. In the background, framed by large pillars and a swagged curtain, Savage presents a glimpse, as he said in a note, of “a view of thirty miles down the Potomac River.” On the table at the portrait’s center rests Andrew Ellicott’s map of the new federal seat of government. The family appears to be unrolling the document; Washington holds it flat with his left arm and sword, while Nelly and Martha steady it on the right. With her folded fan, Martha gestures to “the grand avenue,” as Savage called it, that connects the Capitol with the White House. In the right middle ground stands one of the chief contradictions of the new democracy, a nameless black male servant, part of the retinue of more than three hundred slaves the Washingtons depended upon for their comfort, security, and prosperity. Dressed in the colors of Mount Vernon livery, a gray coat over a salmon red waistcoat, he possesses an almost princely quality. His black, combed-back hair frames his dark face with its prominent nose. His unknowable eye impassively takes in the scene. He keeps his left hand enigmatically concealed in his waistcoat; his collar flamboyantly mirrors Washington’s across from him. The slave must remain a shadow, unobtrusive, unassuming, unremarkable, almost a part of the frame for the Potomac. Only the slave’s destiny seems apart from those gathered about the table examining the plans, yet from the beginning the fates of both slavery and the new city were inextricably intertwined. The nameless man’s story, along with the stories of tens of thousands of others, was very much a part of the plot unfolding on the Potomac in the 1790s. The consequences of involuntary servitude would affect and effect Washington’s development to the present day.