Surrender of General Burgoyne

Last updated
Surrender of General Burgoyne
Surrender of General Burgoyne.jpg
Artist John Trumbull
Year1821 (1821)
Type Oil painting
Dimensions3.7 m× 5.5 m(12 ft× 18 ft)
Location United States Capitol rotunda, Washington, D. C.
OwnerUnited States

The Surrender of General Burgoyne is an oil painting by John Trumbull. The painting was completed in 1821, and hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.

Contents

The painting depicts the surrender of British Lieutenant General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York on October 17, 1777, ten days after the Second Battle of Saratoga. Included in the depiction are many leaders of the American Continental Army and militia forces that took part in the battle as well as the Hessian commander Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and two British Army officers: Burgoyne and General William Phillips.

Commission

Artist John Trumbull (17561843) spent the early part of the American Revolutionary War as a soldier, serving as an aide to both George Washington and Horatio Gates. [1] After resigning from the army in 1777, he pursued a career as an artist. In 1785 he began sketching out ideas for a series of large-scale paintings to commemorate the major events of the American Revolution, and in 1791 he traveled to Saratoga, New York, where he sketched the landscape of the surrender site. [2]

Self-portrait of Trumbull Self Portrait by John Trumbull circa 1802.jpeg
Self-portrait of Trumbull

Upon his return from Britain after the end of the War of 1812, he promoted this idea to the United States Congress. On the strength of his application and the successful exhibition of The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17, 1775 and The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775, as well as studies for other proposed paintings, the Congress in 1817 voted to commission four large paintings from him, to be hung in the United States Capitol rotunda. [2] [3]

The price was set at $8,000 per painting, with the size and subject matter to be determined by President James Madison. A size of twelve by eighteen feet (370 cm × 550 cm) was agreed, as was the subject matter for the four paintings: the Declaration of Independence , the Surrender of General Burgoyne, the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis , and General George Washington Resigning His Commission . Trumbull spent the next eight years executing the commission, completing this painting in late 1821. It was first displayed in New York City from January to March 1822, and Trumbull supervised its hanging in the Capitol rotunda in 1824. [2] [3] It has remained there ever since. Trumbull himself cleaned and varnished the painting in 1828, also effecting repairs to an area near Daniel Morgan's foot. [2]

Description

Trumbull's 1791 sketch Trumbull saratoga sketch.jpg
Trumbull's 1791 sketch

This painting depicts General John Burgoyne prepared to surrender his sword to General Horatio Gates. American officers gather at the sides to witness the event; their varied dress reflects their different units. In the center of the painting, and extending into the background, is Burgoyne's army along with its German reinforcements. They were directed to the camp by American Colonel Lewis, Quartermaster-General, who rides on horseback in the far distance. The scene suggests peace rather than combat or hostility: beneath blue sky and white clouds, officers wear their dress uniforms, weapons are sheathed or slung, and cannons stand silent. [2]

Other versions

Trumbull created a smaller, substantially similar, version of the painting, that now belongs to the Yale University Art Gallery. The rotunda version was used as the basis for a commemorative stamp issued in 1994. [2]

People depicted

A Bureau of Engraving and Printing vignette used on the reverse of the $500 National Bank Note. BEP-GIRSCH-Surrender of General Burgoyne (Trumbull).jpg
A Bureau of Engraving and Printing vignette used on the reverse of the $500 National Bank Note.
Key to the figures in the painting KeyTrumbullsSurrenderOfGeneralBurgoyne.jpg
Key to the figures in the painting
A 1927 sesquicentennial commemorative stamp reproducing the painting Saratoga 1777 Oriskany 1927 Issue-2c.jpg
A 1927 sesquicentennial commemorative stamp reproducing the painting

This list is provided by Weir, p. 69. The people depicted are listed approximately from left to right.

See also

Notes

  1. Weir, pp. 9-10
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Architect of the Capitol
  3. 1 2 Weir, p. 36

Related Research Articles

Battles of Saratoga Battle and major turning point of the American Revolutionary War

The Battles of Saratoga marked the climax of the Saratoga campaign, giving a decisive victory to the Americans over the British in the American Revolutionary War. British General John Burgoyne led a large invasion army southward from Canada in the Champlain Valley, hoping to meet a similar British force marching northward from New York City and another British force marching eastward from Lake Ontario; the southern and western forces never arrived, and Burgoyne was surrounded by American forces in upstate New York. He fought two small battles to break out which took place 18 days apart on the same ground, 9 miles (14 km) south of Saratoga, New York. They both failed.

Schuylerville, New York Village in New York, United States

Schuylerville is a village in Saratoga County, New York, United States. The village is located in the northeast part of the Town of Saratoga, east of Saratoga Springs. The Village of Victory is adjacent to Schuylerville to the southwest and the Hudson River forms the village's eastern border. The population was 1,386 at the 2010 census. The village was incorporated in 1831 and is named after the Schuyler family, a prominent family of Dutch descent in colonial America.

John Burgoyne British general and playwright, defeated in the 1777 Saratoga campaign

General John Burgoyne was a British army officer, dramatist and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1761 to 1792. He first saw action during the Seven Years' War when he participated in several battles, most notably during the Portugal Campaign of 1762.

Horatio Gates American general in the American Revolutionary War

Horatio Lloyd Gates was a British-born soldier who served as a leading American general during the early years of the Revolutionary War. He took credit for the American victory in the Battles of Saratoga (1777) – a matter of contemporary and historical controversy – and was blamed for the defeat at the Battle of Camden in 1780. Gates has been described as "one of the Revolution's most controversial military figures" because of his role in the Conway Cabal, which attempted to discredit and replace General George Washington; the battle at Saratoga; and his actions during and after his defeat at Camden.

James Inglis Hamilton

General James Inglis Hamilton was a Scottish soldier. He enlisted in the British Army in 1755 and commanded several regiments. He was the only colonel of the 113th Regiment of Foot. During the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), Hamilton fought in the Siege of Fort St Philip, the Raid on St Malo, and the Capture of Belle Île.

Saratoga campaign Military campaign during the American Revolutionary war

The Saratoga campaign in 1777 was an attempt by the British high command for North America to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley during the American Revolutionary War. It ended in the surrender of the British army, which historian Edmund Morgan argues, "was a great turning point of the war, because it won for Americans the foreign assistance which was the last element needed for victory."

Simon Fraser of Balnain

Simon Fraser was a British general during the American War of Independence. He was killed in the Battle of Bemis Heights during the Saratoga Campaign. The shot that killed Fraser is often attributed to Timothy Murphy, of Daniel Morgan's Rifle Corps, which was assigned to the Left and under the command of Benedict Arnold, who was leading Morgan's men as well as Dearborn, Cilley, Poor, and the rest of the American left wing, which was attempting to push back the reconnaissance in force led by Simon Fraser on the Barber Wheatfield.

Friedrich Adolf Riedesel

Freiherr Friedrich Adolf Riedesel Freiherr zu Eisenbach was a German officer who served in the Seven Years' War and American War of Independence. He was the commander of the Braunschweiger Jäger, a regiment of soldiers from the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel that was among the German units hired by the British during the American War of Independence. He then commanded all German soldiers in the Saratoga Campaign.

John Trumbull American artist and Revolutionary War veteran

John Trumbull was an American artist of the early independence period, notable for his historical paintings of the American Revolutionary War, of which he was a veteran. He has been called "The Painter of the Revolution".

Siege of Fort Ticonderoga (1777)

The 1777 Siege of Fort Ticonderoga occurred between the 2nd and 6th of July 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga, near the southern end of Lake Champlain in the state of New York. Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's 8,000-man army occupied high ground above the fort, and nearly surrounded the defenses. These movements precipitated the occupying Continental Army, an under-strength force of 3,000 under the command of General Arthur St. Clair, to withdraw from Ticonderoga and the surrounding defenses. Some gunfire was exchanged, and there were some casualties, but there was no formal siege and no pitched battle. Burgoyne's army occupied Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, the extensive fortifications on the Vermont side of the lake, without opposition on 6 July. Advance units pursued the retreating Americans.

Convention Army

The Convention Army (1777–1783) was an army of British and allied troops captured after the Battles of Saratoga in the American Revolutionary War.

William Phillips (British Army officer)

William Phillips was a renowned artilleryman and general officer in the British Army who served as a major-general in the American War of Independence.

Battle of Fort Anne

The Battle of Fort Anne, fought on July 8, 1777, was an engagement between Continental Army forces in retreat from Fort Ticonderoga and forward elements of John Burgoyne's much larger British army that had driven them from Ticonderoga, early in the Saratoga campaign of the American Revolutionary War.

United States Capitol rotunda Component of United States Capitol

The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., built 1818–1824. It is located below the Capitol dome, built 1857–1866; the later construction also extended the height of the rotunda walls. It is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its "symbolic and physical heart".

The Northern theater of the American Revolutionary War also known as the Northern Department of the Continental Army was a theater of operations during the American Revolutionary War.

Frederika Charlotte Riedesel

Frederika Charlotte Louise von Massow, Baroness (Freifrau) Riedesel zu Eisenbach was the wife of General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel of Brunswick. She accompanied him during the Saratoga Campaign in the American Revolutionary War and kept a journal of the campaign.

Robert Troup American judge

Robert Troup was a soldier in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New York. He participated in the Battles of Saratoga and was present at the surrender of British General John Burgoyne.

<i>Surrender of Lord Cornwallis</i>

The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis is an oil painting by John Trumbull. The painting was completed in 1820, and hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D. C.

<i>General George Washington Resigning His Commission</i> painting by John Trumbull

General George Washington Resigning His Commission is a large-scale oil painting by American artist John Trumbull of General George Washington resigning his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783 to the Congress of the Confederation, then meeting in the Maryland State House at Annapolis, Maryland. The painting was commissioned in 1817, started in 1822, finished in 1824, and is now on view in the United States Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., along with three other large-scale paintings by Trumbull about the American Revolutionary War.

References