Tompkins Harrison Matteson. “Washington Delivering His Inaugural Address April 1789, in the old City Hall, New-York.”
New York: William Pate,  – ca.1860. Second state. 18 x 24 3/4. Engraving by H.S. Sadd. Expertly repaired tear into image from top with light stain in top margin. Else, very good condition.
Tompkins H. Matteson was a painter of historical and political scenes who produced some of the more interesting historical images of the mid-nineteenth century. This steel engraving after Matteson’s painting is by H.S. Sadd, who is well known for his historical engravings. The scene shows Washington delivering his first inaugural address to the House and Senate in the old New York City Hall, which served as the U.S. Capitol at the time. The members of Congress are shown arrayed around Washington, who looks noble and inspiring on the dais in the middle of the picture. There are two states of this print with the image in the first state having rounded corners at the stop and the second state the corners are squared with additional engraving to the scene. This print is the latter.
Tompkins Harrison Matteson Studied and exhibited at the National Academy of Design. Began as a portrait painter in Sherburne, New York before moving in 1841 to New York City. In 1850, he returned to Shelburne, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was influenced by William Sidney Mount and blended American genre and historical subjects. His most famous work is “The Spirt of ‘76’ but he produced many other wonderful historical, genre and religious images, many of which were made into prints. The mid-nineteenth century was a time when the legend of Washington was being built, and this print was very much a part of that process. An interesting and attractive American historical print.