British colonies to the Early Republic

Artists in the British colonies and early United States looked to Europe for inspiration.

1607 - 1820

videos + essays

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Benjamin West, <em>Penn’s Treaty with the Indians</em>
Benjamin West, Penn’s Treaty with the Indians

A founding myth for Pennsylvania and for the United States

Thomas Birch, Fairmount Water Works
Thomas Birch, Fairmount Water Works

Fresh water for a young Philadelphia

Thomas Birch, <em>Perry’s Victory on Lake Erie</em>
Thomas Birch, Perry’s Victory on Lake Erie

"We have met the enemy and they are ours." The battle that turned the War of 1812

John Singleton Copley, <em>Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mifflin (Sarah Morris)</em>
John Singleton Copley, Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mifflin (Sarah Morris)

On the eve of the American Revolution, a glimpse of politics in portraiture

An African Muslim among the founding fathers, Charles Willson Peale’s <em>Yarrow Mamout</em>
An African Muslim among the founding fathers, Charles Willson Peale’s Yarrow Mamout

How a portrait of an African Muslim came to hang side-by-side with the founding fathers in one of America's earliest museums.

The triangle trade and the colonial table, sugar, tea, and slavery
The triangle trade and the colonial table, sugar, tea, and slavery

Global trade in a cup of tea: Colonial America, sugar and slavery.

Puritan court cupboard
Puritan court cupboard

Thought the Puritans were dour? Think again!

Thomas Jefferson, Rotunda, University of Virginia
Thomas Jefferson, Rotunda, University of Virginia

Jefferson’s “academical village” for living and learning is crowned by a building inspired by the Pantheon.

John Trumbull, <em>The Declaration of Independence</em>
John Trumbull, The Declaration of Independence

Trumbull traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard to paint the members of the Continental Congress from life.

Charles Willson Peale, <em>The Artist in His Museum</em>
Charles Willson Peale, The Artist in His Museum

What couldn’t Peale do? He is shown as he saw himself: portraitist, naturalist, curator, and Enlightenment thinker.

John Singleton Copley, <em>Paul Revere</em>
John Singleton Copley, Paul Revere

Well known in his own day as a silversmith, Revere is shown in casual attire, with a teapot brimming with meaning.

Selected Contributors