The following engraved portraits depict men who were important in the events surrounding the American Revolution.
Sequence is alphabetical by sitter and chronological within a group. Bibliographic references for contemporary portraits are to two publications that list many of these: "Cresswell" refers to Donald H. Cresswell's The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints A Checklist of 1765-1790 Graphics in the Library of Congress (Washington, 1975) and "Cresswell, dis" refers to Prints of the American Revolution: A History and Checklist of Graphics Produced from 1765 to 1790 by Donald H. Cresswell (Washington: a dissertation at George Washington University, 1977).
Fisher Ames, the famous lawyer and orator was a member of the first four Congresses, elected from Massachusetts (1789 - 1797). He was also President of Harvard University. $125
A striking portrait of Jeffery Amherst, who, along with James Wolfe, shared credits for winning the French and Indian War in North America. This print was first issued about 1766 to celebrate Amherst's role in the conquest of Canada. Amherst is portrayed wearing traditional armor and weapons, and in the background are troops in large canoes streaming down a river, probably the St. Lawrence, as they did for various amphibious landings. A map of the area around Montreal rests below his right elbow. He later served briefly as governor of Virginia, and during the American revolutionary years he was commander of all British forces for the North Administration. The last date in the title is 1795 and since Amherst died August 3, 1797, this version would have been issued about that time. $2,800
This British general participated in fighting the American rebels in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York over four years from 1776 to 1780 when he served under the command of Gen. Henry Clinton. This young and ambitious general began his campaign in the Carolinas with successful victories, but he never achieved the total victory against the Americans. His depleted forces ventured north in 1780 and was capped by his surrender at Yorktown, Virginia on 19 October 1781.
This portrait of a young general caps a vignette showing British soldiers viciously defeating American infantry. The oval portrait among baroque decorations including an olive branch was fitting for a celebration of British might. $275
John Hancock (1737- 1793) was a Boston merchant, statesman and president of the Second Continental Congress at the time of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Illman (or Ilman) was a British engraver who came to New York about 1829, then set up in business with Edward Pilbrow. New York city directories indicate they were in partnership 1829 to 1836, which would be the time period for this engraving, although immigration records indicate an engraver Thomas "Pilbro" arrived in New York from England in 1833.
Illman and his sons Edward, George, Henry and William were all engravers in New York and, later, Philadelphia. Notably, Thomas Illman engraved maps for David Burr and Samuel Walker. $75
A lovely tribute to Esek Hopkins (1718-1802) who was a successful sea captain before his appointment as brigadier general in charge of Rhode Island's military forces. His reputation never recovered from the British blockading his navy into Narrgansett Harbor in 1776, so he was dismissed from command in 1778. The portrait is probably taken from a British mezzotint of 1776 by Hart; however, the delicate decoration surrounding him is so very French. The engraver is Dupin le jeune (born in Paris in 1753) who worked until the early 1790s. Two flags depict the "Liberty tree" and the American rattlesnake draped over military ordnance and with laurels, olive branch and palm leaves, plus a liberty cap. A print with the best elements of French neoclassic allegory. Superb. $500
Between 1799 and 1818, The Naval Chronicle, was the preeminent maritime journal reporting news about the British navy. Issued twice a year, it was published during a period in which the British navy fought the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, and came to "rule the waves." This wonderful journal included action reports, intelligence on various matters related to the British and other navies, and biographies of naval officers. Many of the reports were accounts by officers directly involved, such as Lord Horatio Nelson. Included with the articles were portraits, images of naval action, and views of the many ports in which the navy called. These are important, first-hand images of this turbulent period. This is a finely worked aquatint by William Ridley of Earl Howe, a leading figure in the British Navy both during the American Revolution and then in the war with the French. Howe died in 1799. $175
Go to page with more portraits and other prints from The Naval Chronicle
A large bust portrait of General Lafayette from the mid-nineteenth century. The print is part of a series of portraits of eminent Americans published by William Schaus. Schaus in 1847 was sent to New York by the Paris firm of Goupil, Vibert & Co. as their American agent, but in 1850 he set up on his own as a print publisher. As one of his first projects he intended to issue twelve portraits a year in a series called the "Illustrious Americans," which was to include Daniel Webster, General Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin. This striking portrait is typical of the series, with an imposing image of America's French ally, the Marquis de Lafayette. $425
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