Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 19

Price Realized: $ 875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION.) The textile print known as "The Apotheosis of Franklin.'" Copperplate engraving on linen, 39 x 31 1/4 inches; staining in lower left, a few small holes and tears, 2 one-inch stitched repairs, mounted on later board. No place, circa 1785

Additional Details

This textile was produced on a roll in a repeating pattern, to be sold by the yard for use in bed hangings and curtains. This section shows the entire design, with about 3 inches repeated at bottom. In the upper section, Benjamin Franklin is accompanied by Liberty, facing the goddess Athena. He waves a banner reading "Where Liberty Dwells, There is My Country," as angels blow trumpets from the "Temple of Fame" and hold a globe showing the states of the new country. The lower section depicts George Washington driving a chariot pulled by two leopards, with an allegorical figure of America holding a sign reading "American Independ-ance 1776" as troops march in the background. A torn copy of the Stamp Act is hung upside down on a "Liberty Tree." The print is untitled, but is generally known as "The Apotheosis of Franklin."

The design was apparently described in a 1785 letter by Thomas Shippen, while visiting the New York home of his uncle Richard Henry Lee: "My chamber is . . . prettily furnished. Which way soever I turn my eyes I find a triumphal Car, a Liberty Cap, a Temple of Fame or the Hero of Heroes [Washington], all these and many more objects of a piece with them, being finely represented on the hangings" (published in Nancy Shippen: Her Journal Book, pages 229 -230). Collins, Threads of History 8.