Collection of eight mezzotint portraits of American officers and leaders of the Revolution
[London or Augsburg: 1775-1778]. Sizes as below. Each uniformly matted.
Housed in a red morocco backed box.
Wonderful collection of mezzotint portraits of American Revolution heroes.
Public curiosity for prints of Revolutionary heroes was not limited to America but spread to the English and European print shops, where an inquisitive audience clamored for a glimpse of the key figures of the war. London and Augsburg publishers, using the names C. Shepard, Thomas Hart, and John Morris, issued a series of mezzotints of the officers of the American Revolution. Public interest reached such a frenzy that European printmakers published fictitious portraits before they had accurate likenesses of the sitters, often using old plates and simply changing the name of the sitter. The present collection is comprised of:
1) George Washington, Esqr. General and Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in America. Engraved by Joh. Martin Will after Alexander Campbell. London: C. Shepherd, 1775. Sheet size: 14 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches. Hart, Catalogue of Engraved Portraits of Washington 721; Wick, George Washington an American Icon, page 18-22; Baker, 46; Fowble, 75.
2) The Hon.ble John Hancock of Boston in New-England, President of the American Congress. Done from an Original Picture Painted by Littleford. Engraved by Joh. Martin Will. London: C. Shepherd, 1775. Sheet size: 14 1/4 x 9 5/8 inches. Fowble Two Centuries of Prints in America 1680-1880 #63; Russell ENA III.6; Smith British Mezzotinto Portraits III.5
3) Israel Putnam Esq. Major General of the Connecticut Forces and Commander in Chief at the Engagement on Bunker's Hill near Boston, 17 June 1775. Engraved by Johan Lorenz Rugendas after J. Wilkinson. Augsburg, circa 1775. Sheet size: 14 1/2 x 10 5/8 inches. Small area of loss at the lower right corner, affecting a few words of text but outside of the image.
4) David Wooster, Esqr. Commander in Chief of the Provincial Army against Quebec. London: Thomas Hart, 1776. Sheet size: 14 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.
5) Horatio Gates Esqr. Major General of the American Forces. London: John Morris, 1778. Sheet size: 15 x 10 inches.
6) Charles Lee, Esqr. Major General of the Continental Army in America. London: C. Shepherd, 1775. Sheet size: 13 7/9 x 9 1/2 inches. Trimmed close.
7) [Colonel Arnold who Commanded the Provincial Troops Sent to Quebec through the Wilderness of Canada and was Wounded in Storming that City under General Montgomery]. [London: Thomas Hart, March 26, 1776]. Engraved mezzotint, 13 x 9 3/4 inches. Trimmed to the image, lacking the caption and imprint information. A bit of light creasing and a few small, closed edge tears.
8) John Paul Jones, Commander of a Squadron in the Service of the Thirteen United States of North America, 1779. [N.p. ca. 1779]. Mezzotint, 14 x 10 inches. Matted. Trimmed to the plate mark. Minor dust-soiling, mild staining to bottom edge, not affecting the caption. Very good.
See The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints; a Checklist of 1765-1790 Graphics in the Library of Congress, compiled by Donald H. Cresswell, 1975.