J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Revere Rediscovery #2

On 27 March, the Brown University Library announced that a worker had discovered a rare print by Paul Revere. Only four other copies are known (most in Massachusetts museums). Librarians and archivists noticed—but not many others.

But on 11 April, closer to Patriots’ Day and the anniversary of Revere’s ride, the university put out another press release, and that one got picked up by National Public Radio, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and many more news outlets.

In Paul Revere’s Engravings, Clarence S. Brigham theorized that Revere designed this image himself since he couldn’t find any models. Looking at it, I’m dubious about that. There’s just too much advanced technique—all that hatching—for a part-time engraver without advanced training. And however awkward the composition might be, the figures are still more natural than Revere’s originals. For comparison, browse the American Antiquarian Society’s online catalogue of Revere engravings.

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