Lot 225: Rare 1856 Print of The 1770 The Boston Massacre by W. Champney

Early American

December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, US

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Description: American Revolution
"The Boston Massacre" Rare 1856 Hand-colored Lithographic Print
c. 1856, Hand-colored Lithographic Print, "Boston Massacre, March 5th 1770," Drawn by W. Champney, (1770), Published by Henry Q. Smith, Near Mint.
This lively print of the Boston Massacre, measuring 22" x 28," drawn by William L. Champney, lithographed by J. H. Bufford in Boston, and published by Henry Q. Smith, also of Boston, is quite different from the well known scene engraved by Paul Revere and reproduced by countless others. In this depiction, the focus is on Crispus Attucks, the Black man who was the first to be killed that day, and is regarded as the first casualty of the Revolutionary War. Here he appears, club in hand, holding the barrel of a British soldier's musket, apparently already mortally wounded. Behind him smoke erupts from the muskets of a line of British soldiers, who are firing into a crowd of club wielding citizens. This print is part of a series of Revolutionary War scenes drawn by Champney in the 1850's. This print, which figures Crispus Attucks so prominently, might have been produced for the Abolitionist Movement. Done mostly in red, black and gray, the colors are bright and the print is undamaged and without foxing. This print is currently housed under glass in a wooden frame and has not been examined outside the frame. A similar print was offered by a Boston gallery in lesser condition, at $6,000 several years ago.
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