1798 John Trumbull Print

Value (2012) | $3,500 Retail

It came with my grandmother from Belgium, was passed to my mother, who passed it on to me. I love this piece very much. My mother always said I'd stare at it for hours when I was a little girl, so...

What about it do you love?

Well, the scene is so detailed. It just has so much depth to it.

Your grandmother brought it over, do you know about when, from Belgium?

I believe in the 1950s.

Do you know what the scene is of, other than what it says?

No, actually. All I know is Death of General Montgomery is what it says on the print, and that's it.

It's very interesting that it came from Belgium because it really doesn't have anything to do with Belgium. It's a quintessential American print, although it was produced in London. And down here, there is a publishing line that it was published in London in 1798. But it is an American scene, and it is done by a man named Trumbull. John Trumbull was somebody who actually participated in the American Revolution. He was a soldier in the American Revolution, and this is an American Revolutionary War scene which a lot of people aren't that familiar with. John Trumbull also did The Battle of Bunker Hill print, which everybody knows, but people don't know this as much. Montgomery was an American general, and he led the assault on Quebec, which the British held, because the Americans were hoping to take over Canada. And he was killed in storming the citadel of Quebec, and that's what this shows. And you can see that here he is, dying. Trumbull knew a lot of these people-- he was a participant in the war-- and in the late 18th century, after America became the country that it is, the United States, and broke off from Britain, there was a real sense that they had to create an identity, and Trumbull wanted to do that, so he did a couple of very important paintings. He did The Battle of Bunker Hill and he did The Death of Montgomery. Now, he later also did The Declaration of Independence, and all three of those were made into prints. It was such an elaborate print, and you're absolutely right, the quality of the engraving on this is amazing. It's done on a copper plate, it was engraved by Clemens, and it was so elaborate that there was nobody in America at the time who could do that quality, so he had it done in London, which is kind of ironic. These are some of the most important American historical prints that were ever done. Now, they're separately issued prints, and most of those prints don't survive, so they're important and they're rare, dramatic, beautifully done. And this is in excellent condition. Now, of the three prints, this is the least well known because it's a more obscure battle. Do you have any sense of the kind of value that such a thing might have?

My mother guessed about $1,000, but I have no idea.

Okay, well, in a retail shop, I would expect to see this, in this frame-- and this is probably a period frame-- I would say you're looking at about $3,500 in a retail shop.


Now, the matching one to this of The Battle of Bunker Hill would probably be worth about $1,000 more than this simply because it's a better-known scene.


Appraisal Details

The Philadelphia Print Shop West
Denver, CO
Appraised value (2012)
$3,500 Retail
Seattle, WA (August 18, 2012)

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