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Death General Montgomery Quebec portrait engraving Trumbull

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The Death of General Montgomery at Quebec


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Original antique portrait print


Printed by Andrew Maverick. Title in English and French. This impression appears to be a late nineteenth century impression rather than 1808. On the night of December 31, 1775, Major General Richard Montgomery attempted to enter Quebec during a heavy blizzard, hoping that the snow would veil the sight and sound of the marching Continentals. He planned to stage a simultaneous attack on the upper and lower sections of the town but one part of the army deserted. Montgomery then decided to attack the lower part from two directions with his remaining troops, after which the two parties would join and march together through the upper town. One battalion, led by Colonel Benedict Arnold, managed to overcome the first artillery unit and move on to the designated site of rendezvous. They waited in vain for Montgomery's battalion. The general, leading about 300 New York militiamen, was ambushed by British and Canadian troops who had waited silently until the American forces approached and then fired a blast from a naval cannon, killing Montgomery and several others. Despite the fact that the attack on Quebec resulted in a British triumph over America, Trumbull and many of his contemporaries considered Montgomery's effort to take the city in midwinter a gallant attempt, and the men who participated in the campaign remarkable for their bravery and persistence. Using a powerful diagonal composition echoed in smaller intersecting diagonals of lights and darks, Trumbull depicts the moment when General Montgomery expires in the arms of Major Matthias Ogden. Before him on the snow-covered ground lie the bodies of his two aides-de-camp, Captains Jacob Cheeseman and John MacPherson. Lieutenants John Humphries and Samuel Cooper and Lieutenant Colonel Donald Campbell surround the two central figures in a protective semicircle, while an Oneida Indian chief, Colonel "Joseph Louis," defiantly raises his tomahawk in the direction of the shots. Three figures in the left foreground, Major Return Johnathan Meigs and Captains Samuel Ward and William Hendricks, gesture in shock at the sight of their dying general. Trumbull was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War and was notable for his historical paintings. Ref : Yale University Art Gallery website. Ketterlinus copied this painting from the print by J.F. Clemens according to Thieme-Becker v. 20, p. 222. Wove paper. Slight cockling to the sheet. Toning from previous mount.

Additional Information

artist Charles-Wilhelm Ketterlinus (1766-1803) after John Trumbull (1756-1843)
method Copper-line engraving
date C1880 (originally 1808)
size 380mm by 495mm (platemark)
SKU PT6200