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[WATERCOLOR DEPICTING THE AMERICAN SURRENDER AT FORT SHELBY, PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WISCONSIN ON JULY 20, 1814]
[N.p., but likely Wisconsin, 1848. Approximately 6 1/2 x 10 inches. Framed, with UV3 plexiglass. In fine condition. An attractive watercolor by American army officer and noted artist of American Indians, Seth Eastman, depicting the moment of surrender by the American troops at Fort Shelby in Wisconsin during the War of 1812. Fort Shelby was the American fort built at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, at the junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, in June 1814 by William Clark, governor of Louisiana Territory. It was named for Isaac Shelby, Revolutionary War soldier and first governor of Kentucky. Its purpose was to block any British advance on the headwaters of the Mississippi, but the fort fell to them after a short siege in the latter part of July 1814, and was renamed Fort McKay. The war was over too soon for this to prove of strategic value, and it was burned in May 1815 by departing British troops. The United States then constructed a major post, Fort Crawford, on the spot. Seth Eastman, a captain in the U.S. Army, was noted for his scenes of Indian life, particularly of the Sioux and the Dakotah. John Francis McDermott has called him "the premier watercolorist of the Mississippi River landscape." He was commissioned in 1849 to illustrate Henry Schoolcraft's great work on the American Indian, HISTORICAL AND STATISTICAL INFORMATION, RESPECTING THE HISTORY, CONDITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE INDIAN TRIBES OF THE UNITED STATES, 1851-57, a work for which Eastman produced over 275 pages of illustrations. Near the end of his life in the 1870s, Eastman was also commissioned by the U.S. Government to paint seventeen important American forts. Eastman's work from 1841 to 1848, during the time he was stationed at Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, centered on Indian life, and the Mississippi River. During this time he is known to have also painted Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien, the fort which replaced Fort Shelby, as well as a number of watercolors in the Prairie du Chien region. In fact, Eastman himself was once stationed at Fort Crawford, his initial assignment after graduating from West Point in 1829, and his earliest known dated sketch was made there. He must have known the story of the surrender at Fort Shelby, and probably had details of the event from some who had witnessed the surrender first-hand. A handsome watercolor of the Mississippi by a noted American artist. John Francis McDermott, SETH EASTMAN'S MISSISSIPPI (University of Illinois Press, 1973). Sarah Boehme, et al, SETH EASTMAN: A PORTFOLIO OF NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS (Afton Historical Society Press, 1995).
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2017-08-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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