AP History Notes

The world's best AP history notes
Posts Tagged ‘art’

A Miniature Henry Knox (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In Dealings with the Dead (1856), Lucius Manlius Sargent told this anecdote about the Rev. Mather Byles, Sr., a Loyalist minister who stayed in Boston after the siege and became notorious for being unable to resist a pun:
He was intimate with General [Henry] Knox, who was a bookseller, before the war. When the American troops took possession of the town, after the evacuation, Knox, who had become quite corpulent, marched in, at the head of his artillery.

As he passed on, Byles, who thought himself privileged, on old scores, exclaimed, loud enough to be heard—...

Read the original post.

Dorchester Heights, Sixty Years Later (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

W. H. Bartlett painted This watercolor in 1836, showing the view of Boston from the top of Dorchester Heights. Two years later it was adapted into this engraving; the Boston Public Library shared both on its Flickr page. There was also a color print, and later artists copied the image.

In the background is the skyline of Boston, topped by the dome of the State House on Beacon Hill. Some church steeples stick up as well. In the foreground are the remains of the earthworks built on Dorchester Heights in 1776, though most of what we see ...

Read the original post.

Painting the Legend (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The Skinner auction house reports that that watercolor I’ve been discussing sold for $39,975, above the estimate. I hope its new owner is pleased with the painting and the little historical mystery it brings.

Thinking about what makes an artifact interesting reminded me of a story I noted back in 2006, right after I started this blog. As reported by National Public Radio and the New Yorker, the story started in 1975 when Alexander McBurney, a doctor in Rhode Island, bought the painting shown here.

A picture of a Revolutionary-era black mariner in uniform is extremely ...

Read the original post.

The Bottom Line on the Pitcairn Painting? (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

I’ve been discussing this small watercolor painting whose label says it shows Maj. John Pitcairn and was created by Paul Revere. That picture appears to have been first reported in Art in America in December 1922. At that time it was paired with another, also credited to Revere and labeled “A View of South Bridge, Lexington.”

Now I didn’t know Lexington had a significant or picturesque south bridge in the early republic. For someone unaware of local Revolutionary history but playing off the buzzwords of the late-1800s Colonial Revival, “the South Bridge at Lexington” might make a nice bookend ...

Read the original post.

What Stands Behind That Watercolor of Maj. Pitcairn? (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

This is another detail of the watercolor painting that Skinner is offering for sale this weekend, labeled as showing Maj. John Pitcairn of the British Marines and painted by Paul Revere.

This detail comes from the other side of the painting, or actually from inside the wooden frame. In investigating the picture, the folks at Skinner opened the frame and looked inside. There were scraps of newspaper glued to the wood as part of the matting process, and specialist Joel Bohy kindly sent me an image of them. This is one portion of that photograph.

I’m not an ...

Read the original post.

The Signature Style of Paul Revere (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Yesterday I showed a watercolor painting of a British officer that the Skinner auction house is selling this weekend. And here’s the detail that makes this image so interesting: the words at the bottom of the picture identifying the subject as “Major John Pitcairn” and the artist as “P. Revere.”

I’m skeptical of most things from the Revolution that aren’t clearly contemporaneous, and some that are. I was therefore skeptical about the authenticity of this portrait. As Skinner says, it’s the only known painting credited to Paul Revere. For his engravings he relied on other artists like Christian ...

Read the original post.

When Would Paul Revere Have Painted Major Pitcairn? (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

This weekend the Skinner auction house is offering this watercolor painting of a British army officer on horseback, which is labeled at the bottom “Major John Pitcairn” and “P. Revere del.” for “Paul Revere drew this.”

According to a typewritten note glued to the back, this picture was owned by the furniture-maker Duncan Phyfe. Thus, this one artifact links three historic names famous during the Colonial Revival.

In his blog post on the painting, Skinner specialist Joel Bohy offered this hypothesis about how the painting came about:
Pitcairn was quartered at a home in Boston that belonged ...

Read the original post.

A Newly Recognized Example of Paul Revere’s Silver Work (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The Newport Historical Society received this teapot in a large gift of artifacts, historic clothing, and documents from Frances Raymond in 1998. In fact, her gift was so large that it took a long time before a staff member was able to examine the teapot closely and see that it’s marked “Revere.” The maker’s mark and rococo style indicate that it came from the workshop of Boston silversmith Paul Revere in the 1760s. (Compare it to the one that John Singleton Copley painted in Revere’s hand.)

On Thursday, 6 March, the Newport Historical Society will host a lecture by ...

Read the original post.

Footnotes on “Reporting the Battle of Lexington” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Last night’s talk at the Lexington Historical Society was fun, and I learned new stuff while preparing it.

For instance, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston owns this John Smibert portrait of Samuel Pemberton painted in 1734 when he was eleven years old. Not too young to shave his head and wear a wig, however. In 1770, Pemberton was on the committee with James Bowdoin and Dr. Joseph Warren to prepare Boston’s official report on the Boston Massacre.

The main thesis of my talk was that the Massachusetts Patriots, and Warren in particular, learned from that episode ...

Read the original post.

The Council Chamber at the Old State House, 28 Jan. (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

On Tuesday, 28 January, the Bostonian Society will unveil its makeover of the Old State House’s Council Chamber, where the Massachusetts Council considered legislation and met with the governor. This was considered the most opulent public space in colonial Boston and the center of imperial power in Massachusetts.

Working with craftspeople trained at the North Bennet Street School, the society has furnished the room as it appeared in 1764, when the building was still called the Town House and Britain’s North American empire was at its peak.

The event announcement explains:
Although the original Council Chamber table and chairs ...

Read the original post.

The Original “Wicked Statesman” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

A week ago I shared this picture, engraved by Paul Revere for Isaiah Thomas’s 1774 almanac. It shows a “Wicked Statesman” being tormented by Death and a Devil. Under his left arm is a £1,500 salary—what Gov. Thomas Hutchinson was accepting from the tea tax. That engraving is part of the American Antiquarian Society’s online catalogue of all its engravings connected with Revere.

In a comment E. J. Witek wrote that Revere based this picture on a British original titled “The Minister in Surprize.” Indeed, Revere was an excellent silversmith but not a talented draftsman, and he based almost ...

Read the original post.

Undefil’d with Art (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

This poem appeared on the front page of the 16 Dec 1773 Boston News-Letter.
An ACROSTICK.

G overn’d by Wisdom, steadily he rules,
O ver the thinking Wise, and giddy Fools;
V irtuously dispos’d, of noble Mind;
E nvy itself must see, except it’s Blind.
R evil’d, publicly insulted, he,
N ever forgets to bless his Enemy;
O pen and frankly gives Advice to all.
U nbiased, to Rich, to Great, to Small,
R ightly determines when on him they call.

H ere view the Man, who to his Sovereign’s true:
U seful in Church, in State, a Patriot ...

Read the original post.

The Inaugural Issue of Action Presidents! (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The first issue of the new Action Presidents! comic debuts today on ComiXology, and it naturally tackles the towering figure of the first President, George Washington.

This comic book comes from Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, the team behind Action Philosophers! and (a series I like even more) The Comic Book History of Comics. The Action Philoaophers! series dissected the lives and ideas of famous thinkers in comic-book form, the tropes of superhero action often satirizing the subject matter. In contrast, some of the Action Presidents!, including Washington, really were quite active men.

Van Lente structures ...

Read the original post.

Naval History and Heritage Logo Contest Winning Designs Named (Naval History Blog)

An interesting history-related post from Naval History Blog:

NHHC Logo Winner

From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication Outreach Division

The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) announced the winners of its logo design contest, whose work will serve to inspire the new NHHC logo.

The winning design (pictured right) came from Nathan E. Quinn, a graphics specialist at the Defense Media Activity.

“The main point I was trying to convey with the design is that ‘our past guides our future.’ I have an image of the USS Constitution, which is a long-standing symbol of the Navy. It has persevered through many hardships but still stands today and I think that ...

Read the original post.

New Study of Dr. Benjamin Church (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

John A. Nagy has written two books on espionage in the Revolutionary War: Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution and Spies in the Continental Capital: Espionage Across Pennsylvania During the American Revolution.

For his third, he turned to the first notable Patriot to be revealed (somewhat) as secretly slipping information to the Crown: Dr. Benjamin Church, Spy: A Case of Espionage on the Eve of the American Revolution.

I say “somewhat” because Gen. George Washington and Massachusetts General Court couldn’t come up with ironclad proof of Church’s treachery. He admitted to sending his brother-in-law John Fleeming ...

Read the original post.

The Consul’s Coat (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Next month Augusta Auctions in New York will offer this fine red broadcloth cutaway coat along with tan buckskin britches, which belonged to Thomas McDonogh, Britain’s first consul in Boston. The auctioneer’s webpage shows several more images of the garments.

The most detailed profile of McDonogh that I could find appears in The Wentworth Genealogy:
He is represented as having been the private Secretary of Gov. John Wentworth [of New Hampshire]. Correspondence preserved amply proves that they bore the most intimate relations to each other, and that Mr. McDonogh adhered to the Governor’s person, as well as his ...

Read the original post.

The Consul’s Coat (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Next month Augusta Auctions in New York will offer this fine red broadcloth cutaway coat along with tan buckskin britches, which belonged to Thomas McDonogh, Britain’s first consul in Boston. The auctioneer’s webpage shows several more images of the garments.

The most detailed profile of McDonogh that I could find appears in The Wentworth Genealogy:
He is represented as having been the private Secretary of Gov. John Wentworth [of New Hampshire]. Correspondence preserved amply proves that they bore the most intimate relations to each other, and that Mr. McDonogh adhered to the Governor’s person, as well as his ...

Read the original post.

“The Norman Rockwell of Things” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The summer installment of Common-place included Abigail Walthausen’s article “An Americana of Tools and Manners: Eric Sloane’s Nostalgia.”

I enjoyed finding several of Eric Sloane’s books as a teenager and bought reprints later. I became a little wary of their claims of authority without clear citations, but nonetheless they’ve definitely shaped my thinking about early rural America.

Walthausen’s article starts with a surprise: Sloane was born in New York City as Everard Hinrichs. He derived the new surname Sloane from an art-school acquaintance, the first name Eric from the middle of “America.”

Walthausen goes on to consider Sloane’s influence on ...

Read the original post.

“The Norman Rockwell of Things” (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

The summer installment of Common-place included Abigail Walthausen’s article “An Americana of Tools and Manners: Eric Sloane’s Nostalgia.”

I enjoyed finding several of Eric Sloane’s books as a teenager and bought reprints later. I became a little wary of their claims of authority without clear citations, but nonetheless they’ve definitely shaped my thinking about early rural America.

Walthausen’s article starts with a surprise: Sloane was born in New York City as Everard Hinrichs. He derived the new surname Sloane from an art-school acquaintance, the first name Eric from the middle of “America.”

Walthausen goes on to consider Sloane’s influence on ...

Read the original post.

Unpacking Bunker Hill (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Don Hagist has an interesting article about Bunker Hill at All Things Liberty: The Journal of the American Revolution. While framed [!] as a discussion of Howard Pyle’s famous (and still missing) painting of a doomed British advance, the essay is really a fine dissection of some myths and misconceptions about the battle.

For instance:
Although British soldiers did use knapsacks (that didn’t look anything like Pyle’s), they didn’t wear them on that day. Why would they? The knapsack carried nice things like spare shoes, shirts and socks, great for a long campaign but silly to lug along when ...

Read the original post.

Unpacking Bunker Hill (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

Don Hagist has an interesting article about Bunker Hill at All Things Liberty: The Journal of the American Revolution. While framed [!] as a discussion of Howard Pyle’s famous (and still missing) painting of a doomed British advance, the essay is really a fine dissection of some myths and misconceptions about the battle.

For instance:
Although British soldiers did use knapsacks (that didn’t look anything like Pyle’s), they didn’t wear them on that day. Why would they? The knapsack carried nice things like spare shoes, shirts and socks, great for a long campaign but silly to lug along when ...

Read the original post.

The Revolutions of Sir Robert Smyth (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

In 1774, Thomas Paine emigrated to Pennsylvania with a letter of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin and a fervent wish to help the American colonists resist the royal government.

That same year, Sir Robert Smyth (1744-1802) was first elected to Parliament, representing the boroughs of Cardigan. Sir Robert had inherited a baronetcy (a hereditary knighthood), but we all remember that knights and baronets are technically commoners and therefore eligible for election to the House of Commons, right?

In Parliament, Smyth “generally voted with the court,” or the Tory government, according to Horace Walpole. He supported Lord North’s American ...

Read the original post.

NHHC Logo Design Submissions – Tell Us Your Choice (Naval History Blog)

An interesting history-related post from Naval History Blog:

After three quick months of open and fierce competition to help inspire Naval History and Heritage Command’s next logo, we’ve compiled all 40 submissions. We have to say, there isn’t one that didn’t get us thinking – great work contestants!

Now it’s your turn: Tell us what you think! Do any of them have the stuff to knock off the reigning NHHC logo?

Click here to view the NHHC logo submissions:

Of course, we are assembling a panel here to examine all the submissions, but determining what defines U.S. Navy history and heritage is everyone’s job. We think ...

Read the original post.

A New Look at Benjamin Thompson (Boston 1775)

An interesting history-related post from Boston 1775:

This week HistoryTube.org announced [trademark symbol and all]: “A portrait of Benjamin Thompson, one of the most prominent scientists of the late 18th century, will be exhibited in the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown® galleries to help tell the story of Loyalists.”

The announcement included a biography of Thompson that I thought could benefit from some translation. It said:
In the 1770s he lived in Concord (earlier called Rumford), New Hampshire, and became an officer in the 2nd Provincial Regiment.
After Thompson at age nineteen married a rich widow, Gov. John Wentworth made him a major ...

Read the original post.