Study for Last Communion

Study for the Last Communion of Henry Clay by Robert Walter Weir

Robert Walter Weir, Study for the Last Communion of Henry Clay, 1852. Watercolor.

Henry Clay died of tuberculosis on June 29, 1852, in Washington, D.C. On July 1, 1852, he became the first person to lie in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Weir's painting was not painted from life, but attributes a certain dignity to Clay's death. Clay is emphasized by his surrounding white bedding, and by the direct light from a nearby window. The scene depicts the Senate chaplain administering Clay's last communion.

Information about the finished painting can be found at the Johnson Collection.

Information about those who have lain in state can be found at the Architect of the Capitol.