The Old Print Shop

LET THE WEAPONS OF WAR PERISH / Sacred to the Memory of Departed Heroes: HONOUR to the BRAVE.

  • ARTIST: Thomas Kensett

  • PUBLISHER: Published & Sold by Shelton & Kensett March 1st 1815. [Cheshire, Conn.]

  • MEDIUM: Etching and line engraving,

    DATE: 1815.

  • EDITION SIZE: Plate size 10 3/16 x 14 7/16" (25.9 x 36.8 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: Designed by Kensett. A vivid and extremely rare allegorical engraving celebrating the February 1815 ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, which concluded the War of 1812. The image features Columbia and Britannia flanking a funerary urn perched upon a memorial plaque “sacred to the memory of departed heroes.” Each is accompanied by appropriate national symbols, including flags, the American eagle and British lion, and anchors representing their commercial and naval might. Columbia holds a volume representing the Constitution of the United States. Whereas most images of the War were patriotic and partisan, this design by Kensett is remarkable for taking the higher ground. He makes a powerful plea for the potential of an Anglo-American partnership to effect a new world order after twenty years of nearly ceaseless war in Europe and North America: <BR><BR> “. . .Long may Columbia, and Britannia shine / Amid the radiance of thy charms divine. / May thy blest influence party spirit end, / And gen’ral union through the World extend: / Each nation join to execute thy laws, / Protect thy rights, and vindicate thy cause. / Then will a gen’ral harmony pervade [sic], / And all the realms of Earth one family be made!” <BR><BR> The firm of Shelton & Kensett was a partnership between Dr. Charles Shelton (1782-1832) and Thomas Kensett (1786-1829). They were active as map and print publishers in Cheshire, CT, beginning in 1812 or 1813. They published works by Amos Doolittle and Ralph Rawdon, as well as original compositions by Kensett. He was the father of the landscape painter, John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872).


  • CONDITION: Overall in good condition. Several tears in the margins, two of which enter the neat line in the upper left. Brown stain in lower left, likely from an oil lamp. Original hand coloring.

  • REFERENCE: AAS, Engravings, 8117 (but not held at AAS). Examples located at the Worcester Art Museum and Yale University Art Gallery.

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