Stuart moved to Philadelphia in 1794, establishing a studio at Fifth and Chestnut streets. It is here that he painted most of his legendary portraits of George Washington. In all, he executed more than one hundred portraits of the founding father, three from life. This portrait is one of sixty he painted from the so-called Athenaeum head, an unfinished oil sketch for a portrait of Washington commissioned by Martha Washington. The Reading portrait was in the possession of the Miller and Cake Families from 1807 to 1930. Family records indicate that Jonas Miller received the portrait from an intimate friend, who had purchased the picture directly from Stuart’s studio.