A superior chromolithograph and a very scarce print after John Mix Stanley's famous painting "The Trial of Red Jacket." Red Jacket (ca. 1750-20 Jan. 1830) was a Seneca chief who became a leader of his nation during the American Revolution. Allied to the British, the Seneca found themselves on the losing side at the end of hostilities. From a weakened position, Red Jacket emerged as a negotiator and speaker rather than a warrior, to the consternation of many among the tribe. In 1792 he led a delegation of 50 Indians to Philadelphia where he met George Washington and received a large peace medal showing him shaking hands with the first president. As in this scene, Red Jacket is always portrayed wearing this medal. Nevertheless, in 1801 after defending Seneca tribal ways, which included rejection of Christianity, he was brought to trial for witchcraft by fellow tribesmen. His oratory provide a successful defense, and he emerged from the trial as a leader who preserved Seneca lands that included a reservation in the area of present-day Buffalo, New York. He and his tribe fought on the American side during the War of 1812, and that participation enabled the Seneca to retain their land for years after the death of this noble leader.
Stanley was interested in marketing his western images to a wider public than could afford his paintings, and so decided to use the relatively new and elaborate process of chromolithography. This process, with its many layers of color, most closely duplicated the appearance of original oil paintings, and Stanley hoped the resulting prints would help make his fortune. In 1869, Stanley arranged for a German publisher to issue chromolithographs of some of his paintings. The resulting prints proved to be quite popular, but the advent of the Franco-Prussian War soon made the business arrangement difficult to continue and few prints were ever produced. This rare example of one of Stanley's prints is a fine illustration both of the quality of his work and of the art of chromolithography in the late nineteenth century. $6,800
"Battle of Tippecanoe. November 7th 1811." Chicago: Kurz & Allison, 1889. Chromolithograph. 17 1/2 x 25. Very good condition.
A colorful image by Kurz & Allison, showing the Battle of Tippecanoe, where future president, William Henry Harrison, made his name as a general. Typically of the prints by this firm, the event is overstated with Victorian melodrama. The vivid colors show the US Army's dramatic battle in Indiana just before the War of 1812. As much a reflection of the taste of the print buying public as of the events portrayed in them, this print is a wonderful document of Victorian times. $700
Pairs of popular prints on the theme of a soldier heading off to war and then returning appeared in this country as early as the Mexican-American War. This pair appeared at the end of the Philippine-American War. $350
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated February 5, 2016