In an effort to remind voters of civic duty and patriotic sacrifice on the occasion of a presidential election, the firm Illman & Sons engraved this image, based on John Trumbull's 1792 portrait of George Washington Before The Battle of Trenton. The encounter marked a turning point in the American fight for independence. In his autobiography, Trumbull wrote that he aimed to capture "the scene, its dangers, its almost desperation" in addition to Washington's "lofty expression of his animated countenance, the high resolve to conquer or perish" in the face of adversity.
Vertically oriented, water colored, black-and-white engraving of George Washington, in full military uniform, shown commanding his troops at the Battle of Trenton. The conflict, seen in the lower left background, is offset by Washington's poise and commanding stature in the center of the image. The energy of the battle surrounds his figure, from the rearing hose behind him to the frantic young man attempting to rein in the steed at left. Washington stands on the rocky ledge that overlooks the fight and is littered with an overturned cannon and a cannon carriage that leans against a tree to the right. The entire scene is set against a backdrop of clouds. The pictorial element of the print is tombstone shaped and is set in the middle of the page, surrounded by text. The plate impression can be seen surrounding the print.
Ink, watercolor, wove paper
Overall (sheet): 16 5/8 in. x 12 3/4 in. (42.24 cm x 32.46 cm)
Other (plate): 15 in. x 11 in. (38.1 cm x 27.94 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Richard Austin Smith Sr. in memory of her mother, Katharine McCook Knox, 1984
Engraving above image: "George Washington". Engraving below image: "G. Washington. ON THE GREAT OCCASION OF OUR PRESIDENTAL ELECTION./ TO ALL LOVERS OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE,/ IS PRESENTED THIS PORTRAIT./ "THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY"/ FROM AN ACKNOWLEDGED AND MUCH ADMIRED PAINTING BY COL. J. TRUMBULL/. ENGRAVED & PRINTED BY ILLMAN & SONS."
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