Newly Discovered Watercolor Featuring Washington’s War Tent Anchors Limited-Run Exhibit “Among His Troops,” Jan. 13 – Feb. 19
Complementing the Exhibit, Washington’s Diamond Eagle of the Society of the Cincinnati is on Display Through March 4
PHILADELPHIA, DEC. 13, 2017 — On Jan. 13, the Museum of the American Revolution will unveil a newly discovered watercolor painting from the Revolutionary War as the centerpiece of a limited-run exhibit from Jan. 13 – Feb. 19, 2018. The 235-year-old, seven-foot panoramic painting depicts the Continental Army’s 1782 encampment at Verplanck’s Point in New York’s Hudson Valley. It includes the only known depiction of General George Washington’s headquarters tent in the field – the very tent that is dramatically presented at the Museum.
“We have no photographs of this army, and suddenly here is the equivalent of Google Street View,” Dr. Philip Mead, Chief Historian and Director of Curatorial Affairs for the Museum, told the New York Times of discovering the painting. “Looking at it, you feel like you are walking right into the past.”
The exhibit, entitled Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor, will bring together works of art, weapons, and other artifacts from the Revolutionary War to explore the history surrounding this rare eyewitness painting of the Continental Army, which was discovered by the Museum’s curators. Among His Troops will include hands-on activities for families, gallery talks, and a series of public lectures. It is open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily and is free with regular museum admission.
Visitors will learn about the detective work conducted by the Museum’s curators to identify the watercolor and its artist, Pierre L’Enfant. A French-born American military engineer, L’Enfant is best known as the master planner of Washington, D.C. The newly discovered watercolor will be displayed next to L’Enfant’s only other known panoramic painting of the Continental Army, which depicts West Point in 1782, on loan from the Library of Congress. Together, these paintings provide visitors with a glimpse into the relatively unknown period following the 1781 British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, as the Revolutionary War continued to rage. The exhibit tells the stories of the officers, female camp followers, and African American soldiers who continued the fight for independence as they encamped in the Hudson Valley in 1782.
Complementing the exhibit, from Dec. 6 – March 4, visitors will have the rare opportunity to view the Diamond Eagle of the Society of the Cincinnati on the Museum’s second floor. The diamond-encrusted emblem was owned and worn by George Washington as the first president general of the Society. It was presented to Washington in Philadelphia in 1784 but has never been exhibited in the city. The Society’s insignia — a gold Eagle suspended from a blue and white ribbon – was designed by Pierre L’Enfant, the artist who painted the watercolor.
The 2,500 square-foot exhibit will be located in the Museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery. An adjacent activity space will feature replica soldiers’ tents that visitors can climb inside, and replicated furniture from Washington’s tent, including his bed, stools, and accoutrements, for visitors to explore Washington’s day-to-day experience as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Guests can try on Revolutionary-inspired clothing, design their own symbols like those used by units of the Continental Army, learn how to drill like a soldier, and more.
In Addition to the Verplanck’s Point Watercolor, Key Artifacts on Display Include:
- L’Enfant’s only other known Revolutionary War panorama, a view of West Point also executed in 1782, on loan to the Museum from the Library of Congress.
- American artist Joseph Wright’s 1784 portrait, George Washington, courtesy of the Philadelphia History Museum.
- Noted American illustrator Howard Pyle’s In the Presence of Washington, on loan from the Biggs Museum of American Art.
- Celebrated American artist John Trumbull’s Washington at Verplanck’s Point, a dramatic depiction of the Commander-in-Chief that was presented to Martha Washington in 1790, which is on loan from Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware.
- A map of the Siege of Yorktown created by German-born Continental Artillery officer Sebastian Bauman in 1782, on loan from a private lender.
- Pieces of Washington’s headquarters tent that were too fragile to display as part of the tent theater presentation, including pins, ropes, fragments of the tent that had been cut off as souvenirs in the 1800s.
- Arms and accoutrements carried by soldiers who encamped in the Hudson Valley in 1782.
Special Programming Highlights:
Thirty-minute educator-led early access tours of the special exhibit will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10 a.m. for $35 general admission, $20 members.
Twenty-minute gallery talks by members of the curatorial team will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. Included with general admission.
During Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, Saturday – Monday, Jan. 13 – 15, a costumed historical interpreter will explore the stories of African American service in the Revolutionary War and highlight the story of William Lee, Washington’s enslaved valet who lived alongside him in his tent.
On Tuesday, Jan. 16 from 5 – 8 p.m., the Museum’s monthly History After Hours event will be themed around the special exhibit and will include demonstrations on tent-making and watercolor painting activities. Happy hour food and drink specials will be available in the Museum’s Cross Keys Café. Tickets are $10.
On Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1:30 p.m., author Arthur Lefkowitz will present his book, Eyewitness Images of the American Revolution, which features images from artists who were eyewitnesses to the events of the American Revolution. The talk will be followed by a book signing. Free with regular admission.
On Saturday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., a special day-long workshop will teach attendees how to sew a soldier’s tent. Tickets are $100 (includes lunch and guided tours), $80 for members. Visitors will be able to view the works in progress.
On Thursday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m., author and historian Dr. Judith Van Buskirk will discuss African American Revolutionaries in an illustrated lecture based on her new book, Standing in their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution. Tickets are $15 and includes access to the special exhibit.
On Saturday, Feb. 3 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., the Department of the Geographer, a military living history unit, will showcase the surveyors' tools and techniques that Washington relied on to create accurate maps and provide intelligence at Verplanck's Point, New York and throughout the war. Free with regular admission.
On Sunday, Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m., Corine McHugh, a Philadelphia-based independent conservator of works on paper, will discuss the treatment choices she made while conserving L’Enfants watercolor. McHugh will discuss her efforts to best preserve the artist’s hand and intent. Free with regular admission.
On Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. R. Scott Stephenson and Dr. Philip Mead will present an evening discussion on the detective work involved in discovering and identifying the watercolor. Tickets are $25 general admission and $15 for members (includes access to special exhibit).
During Presidents Day weekend, Saturday – Monday, Feb. 17 – 19, gallery activities and costumed historical interpreters will interpret the Commander in Chief’s Guard, a unit of the Continental Army that protected General Washington during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can wish Washington a happy birthday by signing a giant birthday card throughout the weekend and enjoy a slice of cake on Saturday at 1 p.m.
On Sunday, Feb. 18, enjoy Breakfast with George Washington in the Museum’s Liberty Hall. A costumed historical interpreter representing our country’s first commander-in-chief will meet and greet guests while they dine on an assortment of muffins, bagels and mini quiches. Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children (includes Museum admission). Seatings are at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Admission to the exhibit is free with regular museum admission. Museum tickets can be purchased here and are $19 for adults; $17 for seniors, students, and active or retired military; and $12 for children ages 6 and up. Children ages 5 and under are free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days. Group tickets for parties of 15 or more are currently available for a reduced price by calling 267.858.3308. Memberships are also available for purchase here or by calling 215.454.2030.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor
WHO: For only five weeks, the Museum of the American Revolution presents a newly
discovered 235-year-old, seven-foot panoramic painting that offers an invaluable
glimpse into the Revolutionary War. The exhibit will bring together works of art,
weapons, and other artifacts from the Revolutionary War to explore the history
surrounding this remarkable discovery by the Museum’s curators.
WHERE: Museum of the American Revolution, Patriots Gallery
101 S. Third St. Philadelphia, PA 19106
WHEN: Jan. 13 – Feb. 19, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (The Museum opens at 10 a.m.)
HOW: Free with regular museum admission, tickets are available at www.amrevmuseum.org,
215-253-6731, or at the front desk
Among His Troops: Washington’s War Tent in a Newly Discovered Watercolor is sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Additional support provided by: Landenberger Family Foundation; The Family of Irvin and Anita Schorsch; MBA Design & Display Products Corp.; Library of Congress; Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library; Philadelphia History Museum; Biggs Museum of American Art; Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Van Cortlandt House Museum, the National Society of the Colonial Dames in New York; Museum of Connecticut History; Brian and Barbara Hendelson; Richard H. Brown Revolutionary War Map Collection; Nick Manganiello; and Bob MacDonald.
About the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, Carpenters’ Hall, and Franklin Court, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.