May 27, 2020 Founders & Patriots
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/27/2020
Attributed to Alexander Ritchie (American, 1782-1862). "Portrait of General John Stark." Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches, within carved and gilded frame. Until recently rediscovered, this important work, one of only three known contemporary portraits of the Revolutionary hero, had been missing from public view for more than 170 years. Previously, it was only known by a daguerreotype taken of it in c. 1850 and the earlier engraving made from it by Manville Brown and published in 1831. Its artist, Alexander Ritchie, was an 1802 distinguished graduate of Harvard, who practiced law in Boston and later became a West Indies planter. It is uncertain under whom he may have studied drawing and painting, but he exhibited works at the Boston Athenaeum during the 1830s and also was known as a collector of master works. His portrait of Stark remains his most important work. General John Stark (1728-1822) is one of the most iconic Patriot heroes of the Revolutionary War. Born on the New Hampshire frontier, Stark’s life fully embodied the words, “Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils”, words he uttered 136 years before they became that state’s official motto. As a young man, he was captured by an Abenaki raiding party in 1752, ran the gauntlet and was adopted into that tribe. Later redeemed, Stark became one of the most effective combat officers in Roger’s Rangers during the French & Indian War. He responded to the Lexington Alarm and commanded a regiment of New Hampshire troops during the Siege of Boston, fighting with distinction during the battle of Breed’s Hill. Continuing in Continental service, Stark and his men fought at Trenton and Princeton, but Stark later resigned after being overlooked for promotion to brigadier general. Appointed to that rank in the New Hampshire militia, Stark gathered his troops during the British invasion down the Hudson in 1777 and decisively defeated the Baum’s column of Germans and Loyalists at Wallomsac, in what became known as the battle of Bennington on August 16, 1777, which he later claimed was “the hottest engagement I have ever witnessed, resembling a continual clap of thunder.” Stark returned to Continental service and was active through the war, being promoted to major general by Congress in 1783. He died in 1822 at the age of 94 as the last surviving Revolutionary War general. CONDITION: relined probably 30-40 years ago and paint surface with craquelure, but quite stable; otherwise very good with only scattered spots of inpainting. JLK
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $7,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $27,600.00
Estimate: $15,000 - $30,000
Number Bids: 15
Auction closed on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
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