New York, Amerikaanse onafhankelijkheidsoorlog – naar Franz Xavier Habermann, ca. 1776

FAMOUS REVOLUTIONARY WAR PRINT “La destruction de la statue royale a Nouvelle Yorck” [New Yorkers pull down George III’s statue].…

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La destruction de la statue royale a Nouvelle Yorck” [New Yorkers pull down George III’s statue]. Copper engraving attributed to Andre Bassett Paine after Franz Xavier Habermann, from a series of prints at the outset of the American Revolutionary War published around 1776. With original hand colouring. Size: 27,9 × 41 cm.

On July 10, 1776, after hearing the reading of the Declaration of Independence, New Yorkers went on a rampage, smashing the windows of Royalists and tearing down the 25′ gilt equestrian statue of King George III located on Bowling Green. The head of the statue was sawed off by one of the Sons of Liberty and set up on a spike in the Blue Bell Tavern near what is now 181st Street and Broadway. The rest of the statue was hauled away and eventually melted into bullets. Later the head was stolen by loyalists and given to the British when they drove the Americans out of New York. The head was returned to England where it was used to show the disrespect the Colonists had for their king!

This engraving is a fictional view and does not show the king on horseback but rather looking like a Roman ruler. The Baroque architecture is more characteristic of a large European city from that era than Anglo-Dutch colonial New York. Also, the toppling of the statue is being done, not by zealous revolutionaries, but by black, turbaned men while well-heeled-and-hatted colonials stand aside and watch. Onlookers sitting safely in nearby houses exhibit expressions of mild dismay. The message – that the revolutionaries lacked the courage of their convictions, that they were reliant on their slaves to do all their heavy lifting, and that there was a helpless loyalist population not represented – would have been welcome to a European audience expressing interest in the dramatic events taking place across the Atlantic.

Price: Euro 650,-