[London or Augsburg. 1775-1778]. Eight mezzotints. Each uniformly matted. In a black half morocco box. Item #WRCAM53403
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. Shepherd, 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, p.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 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, [ca. 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. This attractive British mezzotint is the first portrait print of Benedict Arnold, who achieved renown for his successes as an American officer in the early years of the Revolution, but whose lasting reputation is as the most famous traitor in American history. The print depicts Arnold at the 1775 Battle of Quebec. He is shown from the knees up, dressed in an elaborate and neat uniform, his outstretched right arm pointing toward Quebec, which is shown in the background. The Battle of Quebec occurred on December 31, 1775, with the American forces led by Arnold and Richard Montgomery, and was an attempt to launch an early attack on British forces and to enlist French Canadians to the American cause. It failed badly, and would be the only American attempt to take control of Canada during the American Revolution. The American attack came after a long and difficult march to Quebec, and Arnold (and his men) would have been in much worse physical and sartorial condition than is depicted in this portrait. This mezzotint of Benedict Arnold is one of a series of fictitious portraits of military leaders done in London by R. Purcell (under the pseudonym "C. Corbutt"). Trimming mezzotints to the image was a common practice in the 18th century. CRESSWELL 9. THE ENGLISH SATIRICAL PRINT: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 51. BM CATALOGUE OF PRINTS 5331. 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. A stunning mezzotint portrait of John Paul Jones, the father of the American Navy, and the source of one of the greatest quotes of the American Revolution, "I have not yet begun to fight." Jones allegedly uttered the line after being asked to surrender while his ship, the Bon Homme Richard, was sinking. "Commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental Navy by Congress in 1775, John Paul Jones, a Scotsman by birth, soon proved himself exceptional in both seamanship and courage. The DAB describes Jones as 'homely, small, thin, and active,' but his size and stature never detracted from his proud bearing" - Creswell. CRESSWELL 132. Creswell, THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN DRAWINGS AND PRINTS, Washington, 1975.