Proof after Paul Revere

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Richard Bishop (1897-1975) after Paul Revere (1735-1818), A View of the Obelisk Erected under Liberty-Tree in Boston on the Rejoicings for the Repeal of the Stamp Act, 1766 (printing plate); 1943 (restrike). Etching. Graphic Arts GA 2008-00310

This schematic etching illustrates all four sides of a 1766 obelisk erected in Boston to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act. Silversmith Paul Revere (1735-1818) helped to design the obelisk and the original etching. Our sheet was pulled in 1943 by Pennsylvania printmaker Richard E. Bishop off Revere’s copper plate.

The text at the bottom reads: “To every Lover of Liberty, this Plate is humbly dedicated, by her true born Sons, in Boston New England.” Followed by a poetic description of the iconography on each side of the obelisk: “1. America in distress apprehending the total loss of Liberty. 2. She implores the aid of her Patrons. 3. She endures the Conflict for a short Season, and 4. And has her Liberty restor[e]d by the Royal hand of George the Third.”

Through a series of owners, the plate was finally purchased by Lessing J. Rosenwald (1891-1979) for $5,500 in the early twentieth century. Before donating it, along with a group of prints, to the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Rosenwald engaged the master printer Richard Bishop to pull a series of modern proofs (a common practice at the time). Nineteen prints were given to the major university collections in the area and fortunately, one was offered to my predecessor Elmer Adler for the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University.

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Richard Bishop was my great uncle. He kept one set of etchings which I now have. They are really quite beautiful.