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tv   The Presidency Decorative Arts Design in the White House  CSPAN  August 28, 2018 11:10pm-12:11am EDT

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friday, we will show discussions on world war i known as the great war. including a great look at soldiers on the western front and how the u.s. dealt with shellshocked. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company. today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house and public policy events in washington dc and across the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. much of the white house design has ritesh roots. white house curator lydia tederick was joined by rufus bird who is the surveyor of the queen's works of art for the royal collection trust. this hour-long program is part of a daylong symposium hosted by the white house historical association .
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>> for those of you who are not here this morning, i am curtis sandburg. i am the director of the david m. rubenstein national center for white house history. considering 200 years of the uk and ireland connections in the white house, we have examined the role of design and contributions of scottish donations. -- scottish stone missions. for this part, it is now time to address decorative arts in the white house. we are incredibly fortunate to have two. it is a double hundred -- doubleheader. we have rufus bird who is the surveyor of the queen's works of art for the royal collection trust. he looks after the royal collection which is, frankly, one of the most important art collections on earth. now, rufus is an author , he is
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a curator, he will place the decorative arts and fine arts connections. so, rufus is going to evaluate decorative and fine arts connections between the atlantic world and the united states. and, he will be followed, as i said by our honored guest, lydia tederick who is the curator of the white house. she has lectured far and wide. she has published articles on the collection and is also a valued owner of the white house historical association. she will then build on rufus bird's talk by giving examples from the collection. without further ado, please welcome rufus bird. >> good afternoon, thank you very much.
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it is a great privilege and a pleasure to be speaking here today about this remarkably broad subject. as curtis suggested, my subject is the evolution of british arts here in america. we will be talking about the american side of things with the white house and the center. it cannot be denied that at precisely this moment in the history of our nation's, nothing speaks stronger of that relationship so eloquently alluded to by the two speakers after lunch that we have just heard, then a young couple, tying the knot, having conducted a transatlantic relationship. we are all very excited about this alliance. seriously, back to the subject. what i want to do in the next 30 minutes or so is try to take you on a quick journey through two centuries of the evolution
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of design. i have tried to deny -- i have tried to divide up the beast with decorative themes and fashions. there is also the importance of architecture. that was a great theme from this morning. of course, architecture contain -- divides the container. the backdrop. this of course is especially true of -- architecture. our story begins with a renaissance. not the famous one, but one in england at the beginning of the 18th century. land owners built their country homes in a rather austere style.
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many of those land owners or supporters of the political faction in which they had been handling the political crown. james i of england -- i'm not going to go in to all of this, but the point is this austere come a classical style was to be repurposed and protestant and english. it was a new style brought from italian sources. designs were published, shown here, by the architect colin campbell. this is published in several -- as i hope you can see, early designs from the white house are close in style to british
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houses. some owners of these houses furnished their houses with furniture bought from london's best makers. one of the best names was thomas chippendale. he is still one of the very few british cabinet makers people have heard of. other than that, they think of a talented group of male strippers. but, chippendale's name was made on account of his skill as a craftsman. his book of into designs -- of -- his book of intricate designs. his works bond imitations all across the country. i share some of his chair designs.
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which you can see, or copied in america soon after printing. was made in the classical style of the 1760s and 1770s. his designs, being perfectly exuberant in the middle years of the 18th century known as the time of the rococo or modern style. chippendale's workshop was large. at one time, about 100 craftsman work there -- worked there. the means of production was a turning point, one of the cleverest to realize its potential was matthew bolton. and entrepreneur who captured the latest fashions in decorative arts and produced vases and candelabras in the most efficient ways possible. you can see some of his work in the upper left-hand corner. i replicating elements of the design and assembling those elements in varied ways, thus ensuring novelty and great
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efficiency. he successfully applied new mechanization technology to the creation of luxury objects and can thus be seen as the father of the luxury car manufacturer. in the 1770s, the whole of europe was gripped by a mania of artists. they had emerged from the fascination of ancient classical design which had derived from archaeological discoveries in italy. they can be seen as the central element of design. through the 18th century, while the trades of furniture and mental making carried on much as they had done almost forever, with the notable exception of bolton's many dished manufacturing in birmingham, the creations of imitation china where, great breakfast,
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tea and dinner services were made using a personal dished using a porcelain with almost the same luster is that from china and japan. crucially, they were able to be made fairly cheaply, locally and for a wide market. they were also made in deluxe format. the natural deposits and waterways in the west midlands of britain made the cermak -- ceramic part of the country. and using a solid color as a contrasting background to the white marble like figures which stood out in low relief, the buyer of his jasper was was able to show his taste for the classical and his sophistication. one of the most famous objects of the day was the portland vase , in the upper left a roman face
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of circa 20 bc. one of the best-known roman antiquities. wedgwood borrowed it and made it in 1787 to -- and reproduced in 1790. i just keep pressing the wrong button. oops, now i am going ahead. just after the turn-of-the- century, this craze for roman and greek antiquity evolved into a mania for an over the shoulder civilization. egypt was at the time being explored and uncovered. this proved to be enormously influential. thanks to the hostilities on the continent of europe, approximately one year between 1802 and 1803, the
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publication succeeded and spread like a virus. soon enough, furniture and interiors were being commissioned to exhibit this daring new style. with its yellow, imitation walls. this was designed by james -- and precisely this time. one of the best-known publications which included this new style was thomas hopes. household furniture and interior decoration of 1807. help was a sign of the while thing -- wealthy thinking family and had traveled much in greece and turkey. he combined roman, greek and egyptian. no publisher would take on the risk of producing it in color.
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the interiors and colors used were described in some detail. the book records hope's own interiors and his own richly decorated home. this is the style which many refer to as regency. in actual fact, the prince regent himself, did not adopt the fashionable theme of household furniture. george, prince of wales, the prince regent from 1811 and king george the fourth, was an extraordinary man. he was loathed by historians for almost bankrupting the nation. but, he was adored by art historians like me with his passion and genius for collecting. he looked face forward and backward in his taste.
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he built fantastical palaces. he had bought a modest little classical villa at the end of the 18th century. over the next 25 years, greatly in -- and lunged at and transformed its interiors into these spectacular asian inspired fantasies. sorry about that, there we are. it was the prince of wales, his chinese and indian inspired interiors and the objects he commissioned to revive the fashion for what used to be called she glossary -- called --. many works were made in china and japan, specifically for export to europe. the prince of wales tired of
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the asian inspired style and moved on to a more medieval gothic style. that was used throughout the 18th century. from the middle of the 1820s, a new interpretation was seen and enthusiastically taken up by the designer justice puget. ledger with charles barry in the 1840s, designed the new houses of parliament including the clock tower, big ben, after the fire of 1834 destroyed the old medieval buildings. he campaigned to preserve the gothic style and found it does -- expression in the book. contrasted the ancient gothic style with the comparatively recent and much more widespread, classical style. in this image on the left, which i hope you can just about
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make out, he had imagined a town built on the principles of classical architecture in the upper image. and, the society's and in the image below, one built on the thick. and more broadly medieval principal. it was deeply austere and for bidding in the foreground. a small classical chapel has been added beside an ancient church. for everyone else, the chimneys showing industry and profit. it is the cathedral spires which dominate. god and community hold the upper hand, not commoners. if building in the classical style then 18th century could have something of a political dimension, and its associations with the powerful wig nobility, in the 19th century, perhaps in revulsion against the
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technological advances of the industrial revolution, we see a powerful change in dimension. as we have seen, these ideas soon found their way into design and decorative arts. in fact, he made a distinction between architecture and --. his ideas -- john ruskin had any theories of arts which still inform education today. based on the primacy of naturalness and godliness. ornament was seen as an aid to contemplate divine nature. he was encapsulated in his belief that the greatest thing a human being ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it sought in a plane way. the single most important event in the decorative arts across
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the entire course of the 19th century in britain was the great exhibition. properly titled the great exhibitions of the works of industry of all nations, 1851. a combined a bewildering array of works of art of industry from all parts of the globe. there were over 7000 reddish exhibitors. over 100,000 individual exhibits. it was a massive display of british imperial might the project was conceived and was an enormous success. received six million visitors over 1 may two the end of october. although the great exhibition was not the first large-scale trade or industrial exhibition, it was the largest and most influential.
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it continues in a reduced form today is the international expo in the world trade affairs pick in the 19th century, they encouraged and fostered the immediate development of product awareness across borders. this was incredibly important before the electronic age in the philadelphia expedition in 1876. it was incredibly influential in this country. prince albert, is a prime mover behind the great exhibition and also actively encouraged manufacturers experimenting with technology. he patronized several firms with displays of the exposition -- displays at the exhibition. he -- at the great exhibition,
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including the birmingham metalworks firm from 1840 was the first to patent and electrolysis technique. before this very public and international display of ernest industry, the young welsh architect had traveled around the mediterranean seeking to provide a new language or perhaps a lexicon of architecture. for this new industrial age. a when james published his book in 1856. he sought -- in much the same internationalist spirit, he sought a new cosmopolitan approach. his travels took him to the palace in granada and cairo and is a symbol -- and istanbul. this book spoke of patterns emerged into the british market. he designed the interior and
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exterior of the crystal palace. the last glass and iron structure in hyde park. one of joan's' assistance was doctor christopher dresser. he was a scientist with a career in botany. he returned to design theory and published widely on ornamental design and industry. he is best known for his designs for ceramics. he did this for wedgwood and metalworks for elkington's. he is central to the study of the evolution of british decorative arts in the second half of the 19th century. he was able to impose a rigid system on ornamental form. all of which created his distinctive design vocabulary.
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for example, his design for elkington's set the revivalist names which dominated victorian design in 1850. many was captured in his -- he was certainly well known as a designer in britain in the 1870s and was equally admired in the united states. he traveled to chicago in 1876 and met with a wallpaper retailer. he met with them in chicago and along the eastern seaboard. the washington post noticed that the demand for modern design was here to stay. the decorative arts mania has, in more ways than one, simmered down to actual work. in fact, it is quite time to leave off calling it a mania at all since it is rapidly rising to the dignity of a permanent industry.
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the pragmatism and commercialism of dresser was -- william morris had textiles and embroideries made. he considered it to be the very sorry and current state of decorative arts. it is often not realized that it is the largest portion of the decorative arts of furnishing in britain at this time. some sort of rococo style. this is of course a very very small part of the market. this is one of the things that you always learn and see in galleries and if you read books about the 19th century, it is the sort of thing you can read about, but the reality is houses up and down the country
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were filled with this rococo revival style. but, although morris was highly critical of the increasingly industrialization of the manufacturing works of art in britain, such as dresser, he was unable to stem the tide which resulted from the consumer boom. his own productions, instead of being accessible to a broad market as he had hoped, became increasingly expensive and affordable only to a specialized elite which he despised and remained at odds with his theory that art should be made available to all. royal commission, i have to say something about royal commissions. especially palace furnishings. they are really considered to be in the vanguard of art. one rare exception is the work of art commissioned from 1886-
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-- 1880 to 1882. they were will -- introduced to william cooper. through john ruskin. they were given the job of redecorating two rooms. the armory and the tapestry room on the left. this was followed by work in other rooms by providing new wallpapers, stenciling and wall hangings. there is not much known about this. for the most part, we have been considering works in the houses in -- certainly, william morris would feature heavily in decorative arts courses in america. perhaps understandably, royal
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commissions are little studies alongside their contemporaries. there was a relative and adventurousness of royal commissions. whatever the case, the head of the state of what was then the most powerful nation in the world had to have been given some thought. i think this is especially true in the case of queen victoria and prince albert. they found and invented inventive are just -- inventive artist. he produced wonderfully rich renaissance revival decorations which you can see on the left, there. i the time edward vii succeeded his mother in 1901, those interiors are hopelessly out of date and instead, a sort of louis xvi revivalist style was very much in vogue.
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so he brought in his choice of architect. they introduced the white and gold painted look. it was so much associated with the ritz hotel in london which was completed around the same time i think you can see the very stark contrast. palace interiors have actually changed very little since the early 20th century. mention must be made of queen mary. like edward vii, she was very much a product of her time. she was intensely interested in the decorative arts and collected numerous small intricate objects such as jade or gold boxes. she recorded a great many in her capsule. she redecorated her own private rooms in the palace and putting -- palace including a japan room. it very much reflected the passion of the 1850s by
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collecting furniture by thomas chippendale. as we have heard, the variety of decorative arts in britain and in stomach sent -- and to some extent in america they often mixed together. they sought out pieces of furniture and works of art in the bold and rather austere regency style such as those pushed by thomas hope. bedrooms were decorated in authentic regency colors and filled with appropriate furniture. like other revivalists, the regency revival was also popular in the u.s. while and historian noted that while england toyed with a style, a more courageous style in the
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u.s. have killed their showrooms with revivals. it was durable. emblems were -- they were emblems of the late -- the last classical style. occupied from 1948 until 1952 by the duke and duchess of edinburgh. the lack of cressman and materials in -- of craftsman and materials in london at such a moment of national weakness informed the presentation of the royal interiors. after princess delivers -- princess elizabeth's succession, it became the home of the dowager queen mother where she resided in march -- marvelous, gradually fading grantor before her death in 2002, age 102.
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britain's emergence from postwar austerity is symbolized by the -- of britain. the bombed out side on the bank of the thames was identified as the focal point of a series of nationwide events. it celebrated britain's past and looking looked -- and looked forward to a comfortable future. they introduced color into a bleak, great cityscape. it was a new dawn for enjoying life in modern times with modern technology. this exposure to contemporary culture coincided with the nostalgic look to the nations past. probably not dissimilar to the 2012 olympic games. so, how to draw these to a close and consider the
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decorative arts in relation to the united states? certainly the chippendale style in philadelphia and new york reflects a political relationship. in the 19th century, it reflects the embracing of commercial enterprise. the 20th century is harder to pin down as both political and commercial links went in different directions. the plurality and pleura federation -- and proliferation of different styles went hand- in-hand. it will be interesting to see what styles harry and megan come up with. thank you. 3 following that, please join us in welcoming lydia tederick, white house curator.
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>> thank you for having me today. when designing my talk, i was asked not to focus solely on the objects themselves, but why they are in our collection. so, i am not able to show you everything. in fact, i don't think i'm able to show you anything. i am not able to show you everything associated with the united kingdom and ireland, only a few selections. so, to learn more about these and other objects in our collection, i encourage you to see some of our major publications written by my predecessors who are both here today. namely, the white house's historic furnishings and first families and the official white house china as well as arjun
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the white house, the nation's pride emma essays -- and essays by the art historian, and all published by the white house historical association. nearly all objects were gifts to the white house. somewhere gestures of goodwill, tokens of friendship, while others were presented to enhance the historic furnishings so that only the finest objects would be found in the home of the president of the united states. what better place to begin van with the desk made by the timbers of the hms resolute? the resolute was part of an exposition -- exhibition formed in 1852, to search for the explorer sir john franklin. he had set out in 1845 in search of the northwest passage. by july of that year, he had disappeared. in the meantime, other expeditions were formed, but this one consisted of five
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vessels, including the resolute , that was constructed especially for arctic service. the bow, which had been ironed to cut through the ice and was under the command of captain henry --. in 1854, it was trapped in the ice. they had spent two winters in the arctic. their supplies were running low and the expedition commander decided it was time to abandon the icebound vessel. under protest and with some ceremony, the resolute was abandoned on may 15, 1854 in the ice of melville sound. in september 1855, she was found by an american hoiles ship -- whale ship. she had drifted nearly 1500 miles away from where she had been left. the captain knew of the resolute, the expedition and
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the abandonment and thought, safe delivery of this ship to some port could be profitable. first, they had to prepare her to sail. she was listing badly to her portside. she still had some ice attached. it took several weeks to pump out the water and resume and even kill. the captain divided his crew between the two ships, departed in our sober, and their trip home was very challenging. the resolute was missing her topmast. she was poorly rigged and they repeatedly ran into bad weather. finally, they arrived in new london, connecticut on christmas eve of 1855. the suggestion to refit the ship and return it to england came from a wealthy philanthropist, henry grenell, who had financed an earlier expedition in search of sir john franklin. a bill was introduced in
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congress on june 24 to authorize the person -- purchase and restoration of the resolute and $40,000 was appropriated. on november 13th, 1856, the resolute set sail for england under the command of naval officer henry hartstein and arrived december 12. here, you see queen victoria and her family visiting the ship and being greeted by crept in hartstein -- captain hartstein. he said, allow me to welcome her majesty onto the board of the resolute and in obedience to the will of mike countrymen and the president of the united states, to restore her to you as a token of love, admiration and respect to your majesty, personally. the resolute was decommissioned in 1879 and dismantled in 1880.
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in august 26 of the year, he wrote to the secretary of state of an impending gift of a writing table being made at the direction of the queen from the timbers of the resolute. it would be presented to the president of the united states in grateful acknowledgment of the restoration of the vessel in 1856. this writing table was shipped to new york on november 15 on a steamship. arrived at the white house on november 23. the lucky recipient, present brother bird -- president rutherford b hays emma he wasted no time in using it. he wrote a brief letter saying mrs. hays wishes me to thank
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you for the english newspapers containing good words about the administration of her husband. it gives me pleasure to say that in the first note written at the desk from the timbers of the resolute there is a plaque on the drawer that briefly outlines the history of the ship and says that this table was presented by the queen of great britain and ireland to the president of the united states as a memorial of the courtesy and living kindness which dictated the author of the resolute. i also wanted to share this image with you. it is something that appeared a couple weeks later in the december 11 1880 issue of frank leslie's illustrated newspaper. it was a design not chosen, but featured relief carvings of both president hays and queen victoria. if you look carefully on the sides, you will see that there were arctic scenes provided in
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relief carvings. what was selected was a much simpler design with carved moldings and swags. it was the work of william -- a skilled carver. then the whole panels that is associated with this desk today was added at the request of president franklin roosevelt. it was partly a desire to hide his leg braces and a safe under his desk. it was designed by the white house architect, lorenzo winslow and constructed of hard oak in 1945. unfortunately, president roosevelt did not live long enough to see the panel completed. i can tell you that this desk has been used by nearly every president since rutherford b hays. it was first placed in the oval office by president kennedy. after president kennedy's death it left on exhibition and was
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returned to the white house for president carter. here, you see it in president trump's oval office. as we learned at lunch time, during the latter part of the 19th century, there were various pieces of china purchased from british companies for the white house. they were not full services, but i wanted to show you briefly a selection of some of those pieces. the slide on the left shows you some dinner plates that were acquired during the cleveland administration by minton and coalport porcelain work on the right are examples from the mckinley administration. they were also made by minton. in 1903, a state service was purchased for the white house made by wedgwood. by 1901, during the despite
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present root of -- roosevelt, it was obvious that the white house was in need of a full service of china. president roosevelt hoped it could be made by a u.s. company. an article suggested that an order was turned down by the taylor and knowles pottery company in east liverpool ohio. the large orders, the different shapes that were needed were too much for the small plant. edith roosevelt, very much wanted a design that was simple and not ornate. so, what was chosen, was this made by wedgwood. cream-white porcelain decorated in gold. the decoration wasn't added up tatian of one of the wedgwood patterns. it was described by the press
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as a simple colonial pattern. what made it unique to the white house was the addition of a hand-painted great to seal of the united states. i thought you would enjoy seeing some other forms from this service. there is an oyster plate on the left, a demitasse cup and saucer, and a tea cup and saucer. there were 120 place settings made, eight pieces per place setting. in 1910, the taft's reordered more plates, cups and saucers. in 1946, there was a gift made to the white house of this. it was a gift to the dealer and appears to come from the home of mrs. harriet pratt who was a wealthy new york collector and a member of the advisory committee to the white house later its chairperson, for over 20 years.
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the mirror was intended for the state dining room. it was thought to be in the adams style from about 1790. we now think it to be the work of thomas chippendale and probably dates a little bit earlier, more like a 1770. following the truman renovation, the mirror hung in the blue room for many years but was finally returned to the state dining room in 1961. a probable mate came to the election in 1973 at the request of agnes myers. she was the wife of eugene meyer, the onetime publisher of the washington post. that mirror hangs in the entrance hall. at the time of the white house renovation, during the truman presidency, there were foreign gifts received for the executive mansion including one from great britain.
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on october 31, 1951, rinse us elizabeth and rance philip arrived in washington for a visit with president and mrs. truman. here you can see president truman picking them up at the airport. for -- their brief visit included dinners, a trip to mount vernon, a visit to the tomb of the unknown soldier and general sightseeing around washington. prior to their departure on november 2, the princess presented gifts on behalf of her father. keep in mind, the white house was still in the midst of a major renovation. the ceremony was held in the rose garden on this makeshift platform. during her remarks, the princess mentioned that the renovation of the white house had attracted interest all over the world. she added, if it had been possible to preserve this beautiful building, many people
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in britain would have shared your disappointment. as it is, we are glad to join you in celebrating the restoration. my father, who has many happy memories of his own stay in the house, has wished to mark the event with a personal gift. it's gave the king right pleasure when he found the over mantle which is before you know. the work of 18th-century artists, embodying the finest british draftsmanship's -- craftsmanship, it seemed perfect for the place it will occupy. it is his hope and mind that it will be a welcome ornament to one of your protists -- proudest so long as the white house will stand. >> unfortunately, and -- we do not know the maker. on the right, it is an example of the candelabras that accompanied the mirror made of
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gilded bronze. it is from about 1770 and attributed to michael bolden. one of the principal guests rooms, named for the seven queens that have stayed there including queen elizabeth ii and her mother. the candelabra can be found in the yellow oval room, a room that is now a formal drawing room in the private family quarters. in january 1958, the white house received a large collection of gilded silver. it was at the request of -- who died in 1956. she was an heiress to a montana mining fortune. she was also a well-known hostess who had entertained the eisenhower's in paris when he was head of the nato forces in europe.
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she developed a friendship with mrs. eisenhower. she was a guest of the white house on several occasions. according to her daughter she decided to leave her collection to the u.s. government for use in the white house. as much of this collection as possible was exhibited in a newly created room. this is how that room appeared in 1960. this is the room as it appears today. there are not as many pieces on view, but certainly some important examples. there are over 1500 pieces in the collection. a variety of forms accommodating mostly to the 18th and 19th centuries, made by some of the finest english and french silversmiths. and -- and english regency silversmith is represented by six wine coolers decorated by
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wellman themes. today, they are found on the mantles in the east room. on the right is a soup terrine. one of a pair made in 1778-79 by adams. they were made for the duke of northumberland, who by the way, is son left the bequest to create the smithsonian institution. these are two of my favorite pieces. both of these are made by richard sibley in about 1817-18 18. -- they are made by wedgwood. in 1963, and 1964, another notable gift came to the white house. this was presented by mrs.
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dorothea wyman. it was regency tables over made by the london silversmith, paul storer. on the left, you can see examples of candelabra. there were two pair of candelabra heart of the collection. with that, the way it was designed, each piece can be disassembled. you could have your choice of a single candlestick, or if you and the scrolled arms, you can create a candelabrum. the silver belonged to the 10th duke of hamilton. it was part of an official ambassadorial service of silver. it was received from the crown when he was appointed as ambassador to russia in 1806. we think the candelabra may had been -- may have been a
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separate edition. the pieces that came content -- contained a wine cistern and two pair of candelabrum. the plate on the right, if you look at the upper top edge, you will see that it included the engraved arms of king george the third and the duke of hamilton. at the time of the gift, she said that the silver was being made available to the white house in order to enhance the historical furnishings and further of the patriotic inspiration, the people of the united states received from it. i would be remiss if i did not include examples from the fine arts collection. in accordance with our collection policy, we collect, first of all, portraits of residents and first ladies. importance -- important
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americans and those important to the history of the white house. there is no one more important to our country than benjamin franklin. this portrait was painted in 1767 by david martin. martin was a scotsman who studied with ramsey and established a studio in london around 1757. franklin was in london in 1757, being celebrated for his publications on electricity. he returned in 1764. it was his testimony in the house of commons that led to the repeal of the stamp act. so, at this time, he is perhaps the most famous american at home and abroad. this painting was commissioned by robert alexander from the firm of william alexander and sons in edinboro.
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