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Friday
Oct092009

GEORGE WASHINGTON & FOUNDING FATHERS VISIT WILFORD WOODRUFF IN THE SAINT GEORGE TEMPLE

 

Sometime in 1987 I walked into the studio of my father, Harold Hopkinson. He had some costumes that he wanted me to wear. I was to pose as a Founding Father (actually several Founding Fathers as it turned out). He was working on a very large painting depicting a vision that Wilford Woodruff had when he was presiding over the St. George Temple in 1877. Apostle Woodruff had this to say: I will here say... that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they,

"You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God."

These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. (Journal of Discourses, Vol.19, pp. 229-31; September 16, 1877)

In the fifteen years that I had been a practicing full time artist my relationship with my father (also a full time professional artist) was very close personally and professionally. We had many shows together, we often painted together and we relied upon each other for totally honest discussions and critiques of one another’s paintings.

I was very impressed by the scope and complexity of the painting of the Founding Fathers that he had started on. He had dozens sketches and many reproductions of portraits of such people as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin around the studio. That was the first I had ever heard of Wilford Woodruff’s vision.

Over the next few months as I worked upon my own projects in my studio I would frequently visit Dad at his studio where he would often ask me to pose and would always ask for my opinion. My main contribution was kind of like in the movie “The Agony and the Ecstasy” where Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II would enter the Sistine Chapel and shout at Charlton Heston’s Michelangelo up high on the scaffold, “When will you be done?” and Heston would shout back, “When I am finished!”

It wasn’t quite so dramatic as that, but I kept telling Dad that he wasn’t finished. He needed to do more. He had been working on it for months and was getting pretty tired of it, but as was his working nature, he just simply kept grinding on until he announced for the umpteenth time “I am finished!” And finally it was.

The painting “That We May Be Redeemed” by Harold I. Hopkinson is now hanging in the St. George Temple.

Now many years gone by and I have done my own version of “That We May Be Redeemed”. I have chosen to paint the same feeling of light and mood and have placed the Founding Fathers visiting Wilford Woodruff in a similar manner as is in my father’s painting. I decided that I liked Wilford Woodruff sitting naturally at a desk when George Washington addresses him. I used much of the same research but decided to pose new models for the most part. (I did find a couple of photos of me as a young man in 18th century costumes that I used). I pulled out my “artist license” at least once when I decided that the side burns that Wilford Woodruff usually wore were distracting and so I left them off.

My father passed away several years ago and so in my painting “That We May Be Redeemed” (as in my life) I am building on the gifts that my father gave me. Dad, thanks for everything, and if you are working on some great celestial mural, up on some celestial easle, with a few million celestial colors on the pallet, and you can wait for another three or four decades, then save a big section of canvas for me to paint and I’ll join you. If we decide to do this project again, you won’t have to have me pose, but perhaps we can go right to the source and have Wilford, George, Thomas, Ben and others don their costumes and pose while we paint a true “heavenly masterpiece”! But that is for later! Much, much later.

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Reader Comments (8)

This picture looks really great!! I like the story as well, I had forgotten bits of it,like that they were there for 2 days and two nights...amazing! I like the quote where the founding fathers are asking why they had not yet been redeemed.And I am fond of the personal history behind this particular painting.

October 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHobbie

I love this painting. I am looking for permission to use a copy of your painting or your father's for a documentary we are producing on parallels and prophecies of America found in the Book of Mormon. A high-point event is the honoring of the founding fathers of this country. Is there any way we could have permission to use either your fathers painting or yours in this documentary? Thank you so much for your consideration of this request. Sarah Stoddard
801-407-4937
sarah@stoddardhome.org

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Sarah Stoddard

Can this portrait be purchased? I know someone who has it, so I they have been available. I would love one. Please respond at carrollbarlow@gmail.com.

The portraits displayed on this blog are remarkable! They demonstrate a wonderful love for those who came before and the ability to beautifully depict them and there circumstances.
These portraits invoke inspiration.
It would be wonderful if they were available to those who want to purchase them. Let such good be widely spread. Let many be edified.
carrollbarlow@gmail.com

November 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarroll

Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration with all of us. I emailed you a few years back about the original version of this painting that your father had done. My husband is a very patriotic guy and he fell in love with the picture but he has never been able to find it for the public to purchase, and you informed me as to why it was unavailable, and he was so sad...but then one day in the Deseret Catalog we came across your picture and he hasn't stopped talking about it ever since. I am going to get it for him for Christmas, but I just have to decide which size to get...I wish I had enough money to buy him the largest one they have but with 2 young kids it's just not practical right now, but I would like to get the middle sized one for him and if not at least the smaller one for now until we can afford the larger one!!

Thank you again for doing this picture, I can't wait to have it hanging in our home in our "Hall of History" with all his other historical paintings, it will be a wonderful addition to our collection.

Happy Holidays!!

December 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDianaB

I saw your father's painting "That We May be Redeemed" in the D.C. temple last week when I was visiting that area. I came home to search long and hard for it online. I can't find it anywhere, even a picture of it. Why is it so hard to locate? And do you still sell your print through Desert Book in various sizes? I love this painting. I recently added the Restoring Honor Rally on 8/28 and would to have this hanging in my home.

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffani Winward

I love this picture as well as the one in the St. George Temple. However, George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence. He and 38 other founding fathers were the signers of the Constitution. Elder Wilford Woodruff asked Brother McCallister to baptize him for the signers of the Constitution and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus and others.

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCathey Wilson

This painting is really wonderful. It also reminds us of George Washington, who is a great man. A very big appreciation to this painting.

April 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMetal Wall Art

I love the painting and would love to know if you still sell prints?

February 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Larsen

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