February 25, 2014

William Penn's Treaty Expressed in Art and Textiles (Part 2)

John Hall (1739-1797), a British artist and engraver, produced in 1775 an engraved print based on Benjamin West's painting titled "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  His engraving reversed the image of the original painting, causing the figures to be facing in opposite directions than those painted by West.  Hall titled his print "William Penn's treaty with the Indians, when he founded the province of Pennsylvania in North American, 1681".  This print was published in June of 1775 by John Boydell in London.

Copperplate print of Benjamin West's painting engraved by John Hall in 1775.  Photograph of
 print courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George 
Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.


Painting of John Hall by American artist Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), 1785.  Hall is holding a copy
of his print based on Benjamin West's "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  A holding of
the National Portrait Gallery, London, England.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Hall print received wide distribution after its publication and several artists later used it as the basis for their own depictions of the allegorical work by West.  Two of these depictions were painted by Quaker artist Edward Hicks (1780-1849).  The first, painted in 1833, is his famous painting titled "The Peaceable Kingdom".  It features a depiction of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" in the background.

Edward Hicks' "The Peaceable Kingdom".  A holding of the National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D. C.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

The other "Penn's Treaty" painted by Hicks is dated 1847.

Edward Hicks' version of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians" based on the print by John Hall.
Private collection.  Source:  Wikimedia Commons.

We found one example of a textile that reproduces the orientation of Hall's print.  That is, unlike the textiles shown last time from the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, this textile was printed with West's image reversed.  It is used as the central panel in a quilt belonging to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.  The quilt is attributed to Martha Washington as maker.

Brown plate-printed linen panel depicting Hall's version of "Penn's Treaty with the Indians".  
Photograph courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George Washington's 
Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

"Penn's Treaty Quilt" attributed to Martha Washington.  Photograph courtesy of
the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, George Washington's Mount Vernon,
Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The quilt itself measures 100 X 100 inches and is described by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association as being a "quilted and patchwork bedspread, developed on the basis of concentric squares."  The fabrics are described as "multi-color glazed block-printed linens and cottons with penciling."







This and all prior photographs of the quilt blocks courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies'
Association, George Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Barbara Brackman posted information about this quilt on her "1812 War & Piecing" blog.  She cites a 1905 biography of Tobias Lear who was George Washington's Secretary.  The biography featured a photograph of this quilt with a caption saying that is was presented by Martha Washington to Mrs Lear.  Mrs. Lear was Frances Dandridge Henley Lear, Tobias' third wife, and Martha Washington's niece.  The quilt was a gift to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association from Louisa Lear Eyre in 1931.

Our special thanks to Dawn Bonner of the Mount Vernon organization for so generously sharing the photographs and information about this spectacular quilt.

Sources:

Barbara Brackman's "1812 War & Piecing" blog post of October 9, 2011.

Encyclopedia Britannica.

Personal email correspondence with Dawn Bonner, George Washington's Mount Vernon.

(c)  Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post and especially the photos and close-ups of the fabrics in the quilt.

    ReplyDelete