"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Henry Laurens

This portrait of Henry Laruens (1724-1792) by John Singleton Copley hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"South Carolina merchant and planter Henry Laurens, sent by the Continental Congress to secure a much ­needed loan from Holland, was captured by the British on the high seas and imprisoned for fifteen months in the Tower of London. Finally exchanged after the Battle of Yorktown for General Charles Cornwallis, Laurens posed for his portrait in his capacity as president of the Continental Congress (1777-78). Shortly thereafter he was instructed to join Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams as a member of the peace commission. Laurens arrived at Paris just two days before the preliminary treaty bringing the Revolution to a close was signed on November 30, 1782. He inserted a line in the treaty to prevent the British army from 'carrying away any Negroes or other property.'" -- National Portrait Gallery

Copley's painting of Laurens was published in 1782 as this engraving by "V. Green mezzotinto engraver to his Majesty & to the Elector Palatine " (LOC)

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