Apr 07, 2022 - Sale 2600

Sale 2600 - Lot 17

Price Realized: $ 9,375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1775.) The Battle of Lexington, April 19th 1775. Lithograph, 15 x 17 1/2 inches; 3-inch closed tear on left edge, edges and caption area worn, but beautifully restored. Boston, circa 1828-1834

Additional Details

Moses Swett (1804-1838) here adapts the well-known 1775 view of the battle by Amos Doolittle, with his drawing then put on stone by Boston's first lithographers, Pendleton's Lithography. Swett made some adjustments to Doolittle's contemporary rendering, cleaning up some of the primitive perspective and scale from the original, and altering the buildings in the background for composition purposes. The biggest change, though, is with the patriot troops in the foreground. Doolittle had depicted the event as a massacre of unorganized civilians by a formidable British military, with the dead or scattering Americans portrayed as victims. This made sense in the context of 1775, when the British were viewed as aggressors. By the 1830s, with the United States well established and annual Independence Day celebrations in honor of its origin stories, Swett reshaped the scene to show the patriots standing firm and firing back at the British regulars. See "Imagining the Battle of Lexington" at the American Revolution Institute website for more on this interesting comparison. One copy in OCLC, at the Boston Athenaeum; another is held by the Worcester Art Museum. None traced at auction since 1916.