“Hopkins Commandant En Chef, la Flotte Américaine.”
Paris: Esnauts et Rapilly, Rue St. Jacques à la Ville de Coutances, A.P.D.R. Circa. 1778. 6 x 4 1/4 (image) plus margins. Etching by Dupin. On laid paper with watermark. Ref.: Cresswell, Dissertation, 217, cites copy in Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, as only one found. Old diagonal fold from upper right to bottom center. Otherwise, excellent condition, fine strike.
A lovely tribute to Esek Hopkins (1718-1802) who was a successful sea captain before his appointment as brigadier general in charge of Rhode Island’s military forces. His reputation never recovered from the British blockading his navy into Narragansett Harbor in 1776, so he was dismissed from command in 1778. The portrait is probably taken from a British mezzotint of 1776 by Hart; however, the delicate decoration surrounding him is so very French. The engraver is Dupin le jeune (born in Paris in 1753) who worked until the early 1790s. Two flags depict the “Liberty tree” and the American rattlesnake draped over military ordnance and with laurels, olive branch and palm leaves, plus a liberty cap. A print with the best elements of French neoclassic allegory. Superb.