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History, Military, Civil War, In Right Is Might, Brooklyn Commission, Antique Print, New York, 1864

Seymour Joseph Guy (1824-1910) (after)
In Right Is Might
Endicott & Company: 1864
Lithograph
Signed “S.J. Guy” in the matrix, lower right
17.25 x 11.75 inches, image
17.75 x 13.25 inches, overall
Price on request

Patriotic allegorical lithograph published in 1864 during the American Civil War to promote a fundraising event for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a relief agency that had been established in 1861 to care for the injured on the battlefield, transport the wounded, aid disabled veterans, and assist soldiers’ families. The broadside certificate is composed as a neoclassical arch framing a scene where the wounded are being carried off the battlefield, and includes allegorical imagery. Drawn by prominent portraitist and genre painter Seymour Joseph Guy, it was published in conjunction with the Brooklyn and Long Island Fair, which took place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The fair raised more than $400,000, an enormous sum at the time, and major donors were presented with this print individually inscribed to them in ink on the shield in the lower left corner. Both Long Island University and Wesleyan University have examples of this print in their collections, each inscribed to different donors (see References below). The print offered here was presented to Mrs. I. Norton, as inscribed in manuscript ink.

Product description continues below.

Description

Long Island University’s Cedar Swamp Historical Society Collection describes the imagery found in the print. Theirs is identical to the one offered here in every respect except that the donor name in manuscript is Charles E. Beebe:

The image in grisaille (in the grey), a technique used to mimic sculpture, is enclosed in a massive Roman arch incised with the slogan In Right Is Might with a clasped hand shake rendered in the keystone; crests to the left and right house ancient symbols of military victory and life, a palm and an evergreen; in the left lower portions of the arch a female Athenian type figure stands opposite a figure of George Washington dressed in a typical Roman toga. The central figure, representing winged Victory, stands on a globe with arms raised and sword in hand poised and about to slay a fire-breathing serpent, a representation of evil. In the background, below Victory, are scenes of war and encampment. In the foreground, a mortally wounded soldier, reminiscent of the moral values of duty, honor and patriotism, is attended to by two field nurses. There is a crate to the left of these figures that identifies the scene as Gettysburg.

A shield to the left, embellished with stars and stripes and acknowledging the contribution of Charles E. Beebe as a foremost contributor to the Brooklyn and Long Island event and to the U. S. Sanitary Commission, is signed by Dwight Johnson and Mrs. J.S. Stranahan, president of the Women’s Relief Association.

Seymour Joseph Guy was a painter active in New York City who specialized in children’s portraits and genre scenes. Born in England, he studied painting in London and emigrated to the U.S. in 1854. Guy was elected a member of the National Academy in 1865. He also exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum and Maryland Historical Society.

Throughout most of the 19th century, various members of the Endicott family operated firms in New York City specializing in lithography, engraving and printing, as well as the fine art and music business. Lithograph scholar Harry S. Peters notes that their prints were the first machine-made lithographs in mass production. The company was founded in 1828 and was a prolific publisher of all types of subject matter over the next 68 years, notably views and maritime scenes, but also including historical landmarks, battles and a variety of other subjects. George Endicott operated it under his own name from 1834 to 1844, and with William Endicott as G. & W. Endicott from 1845 to 1849. William continued the business under his own name after George’s death in 1849, joined by Francis Endicott in 1852. The last proprietor was George Endicott II, until 1896.

Full publication information: Endicott & Co. Lith. 59 Beekman St. N.Y. Entered according to Act of Congress AD 1864 by F.S. Mills, in the Clerks office of the District Court for the Southern District of N.Y. S.J. Guy, del’t.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with light remaining toning (some irregular), wear, and handling.

References:

“1864 Poster: In Right is Might.” Long Island University’s Cedar Swamp Historical Society Collection. http://www.liucedarswampcollection.org/template1/scommission.html (25 November 2019).

“DAC Collection Object Information: In Right is Might, 1864.” Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University. http://dac-collection.wesleyan.edu/Obj5343?sid=46837&x=6625551&sort=7 (25 November 2019).

Groce, George C. and Wallace, David H. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. p. 281.

Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 171-179.

Additional information

Century

19th Century