In submitting a resolution in 1916 authorizing the commission of a portrait of John Langdon, Senator Jacob Gallinger of New Hampshire commented that, as the first president pro tempore of the Senate, “Langdon deserved some recognition on the part of the Senate of the United States.”  Artist Hattie Burdette, who was educated at Washington, D.C.-area art schools, was selected to paint the portrait. Burdette’s likenesses of George Washington and General Lafayette had been exhibited in Paris at the French Colonial Exposition of 1931; other works by her were held by the Navy Department and by Washington and Lee University in Virginia. The artist also produced a number of informal charcoal character portraits of politicians, which were used for campaign purposes.
Burdette’s oil of John Langdon for the U.S. Capitol is believed to be based on an historic engraving of the senator by Samuel Sartain, after an 18th-century pastel by James Sharples, Sr. A notice in the Washington D.C. Sunday Star of October 15, 1916, described the completed portrait: “It is a strong face with well defined features, but kindly expression.”  The painting was accepted by the Joint Committee on the Library the same year.
1. Congressional Record (9 March 1916) vol. 53, pt. 4: 3808.
2. ”Notes of Art and Artists,” Washington, D.C. Sunday Star, 15 October 1916.