The Old Print Shop

[A Westerly View of the Colleges] in Cambridge New England

  • ARTIST: Paul Revere

  • MEDIUM: Engraving,

    DATE: 1767 c. 1870.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image 8 3/8 x 7" (21.4 x 17.8 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: The cut-down restrike of Paul Revere’s important and rare view of Harvard.<br><br> (Drawn by) Josh. Chadwick, del. (Engraved by) P. Revere sculp.<br> “This view is taken from approximately the present site of the Unitarian Church, facing somewhat to the north and not squarely in front of the first Stoughton [Hall], as in [William] Burgis’s drawing. The second Harvard [Hall] has disappeared – burned down on the night of 24 January 1764 – and the third and present one is found on its site; Stoughton and Massachusett appear as previously; and there are two new buildings appearing for the first time – Holden Chapel built in 1744 and Hollis Hall built in 1763. . . .” <br><br> Of the original printing: This is the rarest of all Revere engravings. Clarence S. Brigham in “Paul Revere’s Engravings” published in 1969 stated that there were four known impressions. Hamilton V. Bail in “Views of Harvard” published in 1949 stated that there were six known impressions. It is likely that Bail got the information from “The Month at Goodspeed’s” where in March 1939 they illustrated one of the known impressions stating that there were six total in existence. The impression handled by Goodspeed’s in 1939 was the last impression of this print to come on the market and is currently in the American Antiquarian Society.<br><br> In 1775 the plate for this image was cut down. The Massachusetts Provincial Congress ordered the sum of 26,000 pounds to be issued in paper bills, and Paul Revere was commissioned to engrave them. Revere engraved the currency on three copper plates, cutting down earlier images to reuse the copper. One of those plates was this image, “A Westerly View of the Colleges in Cambridge New England,” and this plate was cut almost in half. According to Brigham, restrikes have been made many times from this plate and that prints were made in the 1860’s, 1913 and 1933. There are no recorded differences between the restrikes but this author has noted impressions with many scratches and blemishes and those with the defects greatly reduced. This means that at some point, likely in the early 20th century, the plate was burnished, or cleaned which reduced the scratches.

  • ADDITIONAL INFO: Early impression with many scratches and blemishes. Printed on laid paper.

  • CONDITION: Good condition.

  • REFERENCE: Brigham C.S. "Paul Revere's Engravings" pp. 31-34