I replied that Copley never painted Washington.
The person who posted the image reported that the Art U.K. site actually identified the portrait as after Copley, meaning another artist had copied Copley’s original.
I replied that there’s no Copley painting of Washington to copy from.
But that’s indeed what the official information about the painting says. It’s hanging in Washington Old Hall, a manor in Britain now owned by the National Trust. The Washington family had roots there. And obtaining this painting seems to have been a tribute to the first President of the U.S. of A.
Presumably, the painting was acquired at a time when every second painting from Revolutionary-era America was hopefully identified as a Copley. But now we know better.
John Trumbull’s painting of Washington before the Battle of Trenton. Here’s a version of that image from the Metropolitan Museum of New York. (Trumbull may have painted other copies as well.)
Art U.K. has an online forum called Art Detective, which invites the public to crowdsource questions about artwork in the national collections. I posted a comment to that site with a link to the Met’s Trumbull, and a moderator invited Washington Old Hall to join in the exchange.
And that’s where the story stands, five weeks later. The discussion doesn’t appear in the public forum. The attribution still points to Copley “(after).” The Art Detective approach is intriguing, but in this case its potential hasn’t panned out.