AGNEW — An iconic piece of art is now a permanent fixture at George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm.
Co-owner Dan Abbott recently placed a commissioned, bronze plaque inspired by Arnold Friberg’s “The Prayer at Valley Forge” on a brick wall at his businesses’ entrance at 939 Finn Hall Road.
The idea was born after Minnesota artist Ross Pollard surprised Dan and Janet Abbott with a miniature, circular bronze plaque of Washington’s head. This led Dan Abbott to ask Pollard if he had ever done a bigger piece.
For years, the Abbotts have had a giclee print of “The Prayer at Valley Forge” at the inn’s front desk. The couple has been a fan of Friberg for some time with Dan, a retired Canadian Mountie, owning several numbered prints of Friberg’s paintings of Mounties originally made for the Northwest Paper Company.
Friberg studied with Norman Rockwell, fought in World War II, and lived a long life painting until passing away on July 1, 2010 at age 96. For “Prayer,” he researched Valley Forge in 1975 near Philadelphia, Penn., to better depict Washington during his time there.
For the bronze recreation, Dan Abbot said that Pollard contacted the Friberg estate for permission to recreate the art piece in bronze and paid a small fee.
The 30-inch-by-40-inch bronze plaque, one of Pollard’s largest ever, took about 18 months from asking to making to placing, Dan Abbott said.
The Inn is a replica of Washington’s Mount Vernon, south of Washington, D.C., and according to a plaque above the inn’s door — “dedicated to the glory of God and to the faith of George Washington, February 16, 2008” — when it opened in the Agnew area, west of Sequim.
Dan Abbott said the new plaque puts focus on the importance of faith to his family in a subtle way.
“We at the inn focus on George Washington’s faith; it goes beyond being just a bed and breakfast,” he said. “It’s not about making money.”
He said an important time for the inn was when author Dr. Peter Lillback of “George Washington’s Sacred Fire” spoke about his years of research of Washington and his faith. That meeting served as inspiration for many, including local reenactor Vern Frykholm who went on to play George Washington, Dan Abbott said.
For more about George Washington Inn, see george washingtoninn.com.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.