A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley

A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley

by Jane Kamensky


$31.50 $35.00 Save 10% Current price is $31.5, Original price is $35. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, August 28


2017 New-York Historical Society American History Book Prize Winner
2017 George Washington Book Prize Finalist
2017 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography Finalist

This bold new history recovers an unknown American Revolution as seen through the eyes of Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley.

Boston in the 1740s: a bustling port at the edge of the British empire. A boy comes of age in a small wooden house along the Long Wharf, which juts into the harbor, as though reaching for London thousands of miles across the ocean. Sometime in his childhood, he learns to draw.

That boy was John Singleton Copley, who became, by the 1760s, colonial America’s premier painter. His brush captured the faces of his neighbors—ordinary men like Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams—who would become the revolutionary heroes of a new United States. Today, in museums across America, Copley’s brilliant portraits evoke patriotic fervor and rebellious optimism.

The artist, however, did not share his subjects’ politics. Copley’s nation was Britain; his capital, London. When rebellion sundered Britain’s empire, both kin and calling determined the painter’s allegiances. He sought the largest canvas for his talents and the safest home for his family. So, by the time the United States declared its independence, Copley and his kin were in London. He painted America’s revolution from a far shore, as Britain’s American War.

An intimate portrait of the artist and his extraordinary times, Jane Kamensky’s A Revolution in Color masterfully reveals the world of the American Revolution, a place in time riven by divided loyalties and tangled sympathies. Much like the world in which he lived, Copley’s life and career were marked by spectacular rises and devastating falls. But though his ambivalence cost him dearly, the painter’s achievements in both Britain and America made him a towering figure of both nations’ artistic legacies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393240016
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 337,487
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Jane Kamensky is professor of history at Harvard University and the Pforzheimer Director of the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her many books include A Revolution in Color and The Exchange Artist, a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Chapter 1 The Provincial Eye 9

Chapter 2 A Dazzling of Scarlet 39

Chapter 3 The Imperial Eye 76

Chapter 4 A Son of British Liberty 111

Chapter 5 The Marriage Plot 149

Chapter 6 The Tyranny of Liberty 183

Chapter 7 Luxury in Seeing 221

Chapter 8 The American War 254

Chapter 9 Waging Peace 290

Chapter 10 Daughters and Sons 328

Chapter 11 Betsy Copley's Smile 369

Epilogue 394

Acknowledgments 402

Illustrations and Credits 406

A Note on Sources 412

Abbreviations Used in the Notes 414

Notes 417

Index 505

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this from the library, and I enjoyed it so much I bought my own copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago