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York Town

1781
Origin: Europe, Netherlands
OH: 10 1/2" x OW: 15"; Plate H: 8 1/2" x W: 11 1/4"
Black and white line engraving
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1960-96
The upper margin reads: "VERKLARING der STAATKUNDIGE PRINT-VERBEELDING, N.o 2,/ Wegens de Staat der ENGELSCHE NATIE, in 't Jaar 1778."

A Dutch satirist set this scene at Yorktown, site of the final battle and surrender of the Revolutionary War. Liberally borrowing symbols from other published works, the maker also took much of the foreground from the popular English satire "A Picturesque View of the State of the Nation for February 1778," which had been copied later in Holland. To the left, the emaciated cow, English commerce, shorn of one horn, grazes on the barren shore. A Spaniard leans on a post inscribed Mexico, Peru, and Chile, three of Spain’s few remaining colonial holdings. A Frenchman and Dutchman holding a bowl and heavy pail gesture toward America to indicate their hopes for the future.

To the right, an Englishman kneels in despair beside the British lion, who holds up a paw injured on the broken American teapot lying before him. Rats carry small bank notes, all that remains of the British Treasury, from a broken chest.

The surrender at Yorktown is shown in the rear. Under a tent, Indian Princess America sits on a bale of valuable trade goods. In a gesture of peace, she holds an unstrung bow in one hand while the other is outreached toward the approaching British and Scots. Surrounding her are loyal supporters and allegorical figures including justice and Truth. An Indian seals large barrels labeled "Kadix," "Nantes," and "Marseille," as he prepares to resume trade with the Continent, but there is nothing for England. The wrecked British ship "Eagle" lies half aground in the water; the French fleet is ready to sail once again.
Provenance:Ex coll: H. Dunscombe Colt. Other known copies: Halsy collection at Brown; Peel collection at the Morgan Library; New York Public Library collection; New York Historical Society.