GUTTENBERG, Carl after C. J. NOTTE
John Paul Jones
Paris: Published by Guttenberg, rue St. Hyacinthe, circa 1780. Line engraving. Proof before inscription and publication details. In pristine condition with the exception of minimal suface soiling. Image size: 10 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 18 1/4 x 13 1/2 inches. Plate mark: 12 1/2 x 9 7/8 inches.
A lovely proof impression of one of the earliest portraits of John Paul Jones, the father of the American navy.
John Paul Jones is best remembered as the father of the American navy and remains one of the most celebrated American heroes. His victory over the British fleet in the Channel came to be one of Jones's most famous engagements, and helped decide the outcome of the Revolution. It was during this heated battle, in which Jones defeated Captain Pearson's ship Serapis, that he uttered his famous words "I have not yet begun to fight". This striking print captures the crowning moment of Jones's celebrated victory. Jones is shown standing on the deck of the Serapis, surrounded by smoke and musket fire. The heat and drama of the battle infuse this work with a sense of urgency and portray Jones as a true military hero.
Although the engraver, Carl Guttenberg, was from Nuremberg he spent most of his career in France and was deeply connected to the American cause. The French admired Jones for his valor and paid tribute to him for his many victories over the British; therefore on its release this print was immediately popular, both in Europe and America. This national sentiment is expertly expressed in this evocative portrait, in which the courage and determination of this remarkable man are given form, and a moment in history is made visible.
Cresswell, The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints no.133; Fowble, Two Centuries of Prints in America 1680-1880 no.69; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 1.