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Maker(s):Pine, Robert Edge and Savage, Edward
Culture:English (c.1730-1788) and American (1761-1817)
Title:print: Congress Voting Independence
Date Made:ca. 1876
Materials:paper, ink, wood, glass
Place Made:United States
Measurements:framed: 25 5/8 x 13 1/8 x 5/8 in.; 78.74 x 64.77 cm
Accession Number:  HD 63.269
Credit Line:Gift of J. William Middendorf II
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Framed engraving of "Congress Voting Independence" when members of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence approached the desk of the President of the Congress, John Hancock, to present the document. This version was probably made for the American Centennial observation. The original painting was begun by Robert Edge Pine (c.1730-1788), an English artist recognized as an accomplished painter of historical subjects and theatrical portraits, who emigrated to America (Philadelphia) in 1784. On November 15, 1784, "The Pennsylvania Packet" carried Pine's advertisement that as he had been "honored with the use of a commodious apartment in the Statehouse, for the purpose of painting the most illustrious scenes in the late revolution" he invites the public to view his works. When Pine died in Philadelphia in 1788, his estate inventory included 4 unfinished historical paintings of the American Revolution, one of which was entitled "The American Congress Voting Independence.'' His widow gave it to the painter and engraver Edward Savage (1761-1817) to finish it, which he did around 1801. Born in Princeton, Massachusetts, Savage went to London In 1791 where he is said to have studied under Benjamin West and learned to engrave in stipple and mezzotint; he returned in 1794 and moved to Philadelphia in 1795. Around 1803, Edward Savage began engraving a plate of the painting, but it was still unfinished at his death in 1817; this engraving plate was acquired later by the Massachusetts Historical Society, and an engraving was printed in 1859. The painting is now in the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection. Completed figures include: John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, handing a document to John Hancock of Massachusetts, president of the Congress. Seated in the front (left to right) are Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania (in Windsor chair), and Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, who, when he died in 1832, was the last surviving signer. On the far right is Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island, wearing, in accord with Quaker practice, his hat. There is a photograph on the back with the heads of the figures numbered and a typewritten list with a number key to the people shown.


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