Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State


Object Details

Casimir Gregory Stapko (American, 1913-2006), after Flavius J. Fisher (American, 1832-1905), after the original by an unidentified artist
North American
oil on canvas
Overall: 28 1/4 in x 23 1/2 in; 71.755 cm x 59.69 cm
This portrait was painted in March-May 1949 and purchased by the Department of State from Mr. Stapko on June 2, 1949.
No inscription on the face. An inscription on the back reads: "Copy painted from original in State Capitol Richmond, Va. by C.G. Stapko of Edmund Randolph by Francis J. Fisher. Order No. 9301-49."
Credit Line
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number


Edmund Jennings Randolph (1753–1813) was born into a leading Virginia family. Like Jefferson, he graduated from the College of William and Mary, studied law, and began practicing law in Williamsburg. When the Revolutionary War began, he broke with his loyalist father and immersed himself in revolutionary politics. He rose in prominence to become governor of Virginia and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. President George Washington appointed Randolph the nation’s first attorney general in 1789 and then, in 1794, secretary of state. 

During the ongoing war between France and Great Britain, Randolph attempted to continue Thomas Jefferson’s preference for close relations with France and to minimize Alexander Hamilton’s influence over President Washington. He objected to Jay’s Treaty with Great Britain (ratified in 1795) on the grounds that its commercial provisions would disrupt trade with neutral countries, particularly France. Hoping to neutralize Randolph’s opposition, the British government gave his opponents intercepted French documents that falsely implied Randolph was open to a bribe. Though he was innocent, he lost Washington’s confidence and resigned. 

Shortly thereafter, however, Randolph’s work on negotiating a treaty with Spain resulted in success. The 1795 Treaty of San Lorenzo secured the opening of the Mississippi River to U.S. navigation and fixed boundaries between Spanish possessions and the United States. Randolph returned to Virginia to practice law.