"William Penn's Treaty with the Indians"
Engraved by J. C. Armytage from an original painting by Benjamin West, P.R.A.
Produced by George Virtue, London & New York
This item comprises the portrait as described above in good condition for its age.
It is a genuine antique being over 150 years old - NOT a modern reproduction.
Overall Size:- 8 1/4" x 11 3/4" including the margin.
Image Size:- 4 3/4" x 7" approx
About the Subject....
William Penn (14 October 1644 – 30 July 1718) was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
He was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Indians.
Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed.
In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his American land holdings to William Penn to satisfy a debt the king owed to Penn's father. This land included present-day Pennsylvania and Delaware. Penn immediately sailed to America and his first step on American soil took place in New Castle in 1682. On this occasion, the colonists pledged allegiance to Penn as their new Proprietor, and the first general assembly was held in the colony. Afterwards, Penn journeyed up river and founded Philadelphia. However, Penn's Quaker government was not viewed favorably by the Dutch, Swedish, and English settlers in what is now Delaware.
They had no "historical" allegiance to Pennsylvania, so they almost immediately began petitioning for their own Assembly. In 1704 they achieved their goal when the three southernmost counties of Pennsylvania were permitted to split off and become the new semi-autonomous colony of Lower Delaware. As the most prominent, prosperous and influential "city" in the new colony, New Castle became the capital.
As one of the earlier supporters of colonial unification, Penn wrote and urged for a Union of all the English colonies in what was to become the United States of America. The democratic principles that he set forth in the Pennsylvania Frame of Government served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution. As a pacifist Quaker, Penn considered the problems of war and peace deeply, and included a plan for a United States of Europe ("European Dyet, Parliament or Estates") in his voluminous writings.
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About the artist.....
Benjamin West, RA (October 10, 1738 – March 11, 1820) was an Anglo-American painter of historical scenes around and after the time of the American War of Independence.
He was the second president of the Royal Academy in London, serving from 1792 to 1805 and 1806 to 1820.
West was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, in a house that is now in the borough of Swarthmore on the campus of Swarthmore College, as the tenth child of an innkeeper. The family later moved to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, where his father was the proprietor of the Square Tavern, still standing in that town. West told John Galt, with whom, late in his life, he collaborated on a memoir, The Life and Studies of Benjamin West (1816, 1820) that, when he was a child, Native Americans showed him how to make paint by mixing some clay from the river bank with bear grease in a pot.
Benjamin West was an autodidact; while excelling at the arts, "he had little [formal] education and, even when president of the Royal Academy, could scarcely spell".
From 1746 to 1759, West worked in Pennsylvania, mostly painting portraits. While in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1756, West's patron, a gunsmith named William Henry, encouraged him to design a "Death of Socrates" based on an engraving in Charles Rollin's Ancient History; the resulting composition, which significantly differs from West's source, has been called "the most ambitious and interesting painting produced in colonial America".
Dr William Smith, then the provost of the College of Philadelphia, saw the painting in Henry's house and decided to patronize West, offering him education and, more importantly, connections with wealthy and politically connected Pennsylvanians. During this time West met John Wollaston, a famous painter who immigrated from London. West learned Wollaston's techniques for painting the shimmer of silk and satin, and also adopted some of "his mannerisms, the most prominent of which was to give all his subjects large almond-shaped eyes, which clients thought very chic".
West was a close friend of Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait he painted. Franklin was also the godfather of West's second son, Benjamin.
West became president of the Royal Academy on the death of Reynolds in 1792. He resigned in 1805, to be replaced by James Wyatt. However West was once again elected to the post the following year, and held it until his death.
Many American artists studied under him in London, including Augustus Earle, Ralph Earl, Samuel Morse, Charles Wilson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Gilbert Stuart, John Trumbull, and Thomas Sully.
West died at his house in Newman Street, London, on 11 March 1820, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral.
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