Painting, Declaration of Independence

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  • Attributed to: Edward Hicks
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania
  • 1840-1845
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 1957.101.7

Edward Hicks presented this picture to his son, Isaac Worstall Hicks, and it remained in the family for two more generations. It is one of several versions of the scene painted by Hicks, all of them deriving from John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence commissioned in 1817 and completed in 1824. A print after Trumbull's picture was published in 1829 and probably served as Hicks's direct source. He owned a copy of Charles Goodrich's _Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence_, which included an imprint of the engraving.

Hicks gave most of the signers similar stylized faces that bear no relationship to Trumbull's faithful likenesses or those recorded by the engraver of the print. He did attempt to individualize the prominent members of the drafting committee, who stand in front of the table to right of center. Both Benjamin Franklin, at extreme right, and Thomas Jefferson, who stands next to Franklin, are recognizable, as is John Adams, who stands at the left in the group.

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