The following was submitted on behalf of the Friends of Valley Forge Park.
Thanks to a spirit of association between The American Revolution Center and the Friends of Valley Forge Park, William B. T. Trego’s 1883 masterpiece, "The March to Valley Forge," is now on view in the Visitor Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Recently restored to its original grandeur, the painting, which is owned by the Center, is on loan to the Park through the month of January.
The restoration, which brought back the painting’s original historic detail, was made possible by generous contributions from the Society of the Descendents of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge.
"This piece of military artwork represents an event that remains dear to the hearts of the descendants of the patriots who served at Valley Forge during the Encampment,” said Dr. Marion Lane, commander in chief of the Society of the Descendants. “It was an honor to be able to assist in its restoration so that others can also appreciate the event.”
Valley Forge is a fitting location to display the restored piece, which depicts General Washington leading the battered Continental Troops to Valley Forge during the winter of 1777. A ceremony was held during the Friends of Valley Forge Annual Reception, where the restored painting was presented by Friends Chairman Don Naimoli and Dr. R. Scott Stephenson, director of collections and interpretation for The American Revolution Center.
Stephenson noted significant changes in the painting since its restoration, calling attention to details such as shades of white in the snow and the painstaking detail in the bare and bloodied feet of the Continental Soldiers. Such striking imagery enhances the painting’s significance, both human and historical.
The story of artist William Brooke Thomas Trego is no less inspiring than the subject he portrays in "The March to Valley Forge." Afflicted with childhood polio, Trego learned to paint despite paralysis in his hands.
He studied painting with his father, artist Jonathan Kirkbridge Trego, and later under the tutelage of Thomas Eakins at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He received the Academy’s first Charles Toppen Prize, and "The March to Valley Forge" was awarded the silver medal at the Temple Competition of Historical Paintings.
"The March to Valley Forge," owned by The American Revolution Center, is on loan to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where it will remain on display through Jan. 30. The Friends of Valley Forge are tremendously grateful to all involved in the restoration and loan of the painting, specifically The American Revolution Center, for continuing to support the history and vibrancy of the Park and its programs.
All are encouraged to visit the Visitor Center at Valley Forge National Historical Park during January where they may view "The March to Valley Forge" free of charge. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.