Jean Hancock, President au Congres des XIII Provinces Unies d'Amerique, né à Boston.
London: Published by Thomas Hart, circa 1776. Mezzotint. Collectors mark of a 'W' in a circle on the verso. In good condition, with the exception of some minor foxing the margins. Image size: 7 13/16 x 6 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 14 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches. Plate mark: 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 inches.
A wonderful mezzotint portrait of John Hancock, one of the Founding Fathers.
Public curiosity for prints of Revolutionary rebels 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 publisher Thomas Hart, issued a series of mezzotints of 'revolutionary rebels', most of which were copied and distributed in Europe with alternate titles. This portrait of John Hancock (173701793) is a perfect example of this clever marketing phenomena. Hart's mezzotint is a reduced copy of an English print by C. Corbutt published by C. Shepherd. Interestingly, Corbutt's portrait is based on John Singer Copley's famous portrait of Hancock and is one of the only prints in the series to be based on an actual likeness of the sitter.
John Hancock's involvement in the American Revolution sprang from his heated disagreements with Crown customs officials in connection with his thriving mercantile business in Boston. He was a leader among the militant patriots during the Stamp Act crisis and the Boston Massacre when he distinguished himself as a seminal figure in the struggle for independence. He held elected offices in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and the Continental Congress. As President of the Continental Congress he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, and he later served as president of the Massachusetts convention, which ratified the Constitution. John Hancock is one of the most beloved figures in American history; he acts as both a symbol of our nation's independence and an icon of our beliefs.
Fowble, Two Centuries of Prints in America 1680-1880 no.61-63; Cresswell, The American Revolution in Drawings and Prints no. 102-109; Russell, English Mezzotint Portraits, and their States (Engraver not ascertained, Class III) 5a, i/i; Not in Lugt.