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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Ethan Allen

This portrait of Ethan Allen (c. 1737 - 1789) appeared in Russell's American Almanack For the Year of Our Redemption, 1780. It is displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.
"This small portrait -- the only known image of Ethan Allen made during his lifetime -- scarcely hints at the larger-than-life persona that made him a force to be reckoned with. Outraged by a court decision that would have stripped frontiersmen of land they were settling in the Green Mountains (now Vermont), Allen spearheaded a campaign of resistance and intimidation. Emboldened by his successful attack on Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775, he made an impulsive attempt to seize Montreal four months later and was captured by the British. Upon his release, Allen published a scathing account of his two-and-a-half years of imprisonment, an excerpt of which appears in this issue of Russell's American Almanack. Turning his attention to politics, Allen unsuccessfully lobbied Congress in 1778 for Vermont's recognition as an independent state. Always controversial, he devoted his last years to writing radical theological treatises." -- National Portrait Gallery
Russell's American
For the Year of our Redemption, 1780
Being Bisextile, or LEAP-YEAR
and the Fourth Year of the Independence of AMERICA
Danvers: Printed by E. Russell, next to the Bell Tavern

Benson Lossing in his 1858 article on Ethan Allen (in Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  No CII Vol XVII, November 1858) laments the lack of a true portrait of Ethan Allen.
“It is to be lamented that a man so con­spicuous should have passed from among us without a memento traced by the pencil of art. The true lineaments of his face and person are lost forever.”

“The portrait of General Ethan Allen was never painted. The picture at the head of this article con­tains a drawing of an heroic statue of the hero made by the skillful hand of Mr. B. H. Kinney, of Burlington, Vermont, kindly furnished to the writer by the artist. It is an ideal of the celebrated leader.” – Benson Lossing

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