What can the life of an artist reveal about the American Revolution and how most American men and women experienced it?
Today, we explore the life and times of John Singleton Copley with Jane Kamensky, a Professor of History at Harvard University and the author of A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode we explore the life and times of John Singleton Copley with Jane Kamensky, a Professor of History at Harvard University and the author of A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley.
During our exploration, Jane reveals Copley’s early life and how he became a painter; information about Copley’s art and how he earned a living as a painter; And John Singleton Copley’s involvement with and views on the American Revolution.
What You’ll Discover
- How Jane became interested in John Singleton Copley
- How Jane uncovered Copley’s early life
- Copley’s unusual life as an only child
- How Copley became a painter
- Gilbert Stuart
- Benjamin West
- John Smibert
- Colonial Boston’s relationship with art
- Copley’s work in Boston
- How Copley engaged with the larger 18th-century British art world from Boston
- The story of Copley’s Boy with a Squirrel
- Copley’s personality
- What Copley thought of Boston’s protests during the 1760s and 1770s
- Liberty Men in 1765
- How Copley reacted to the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party
- Copley’s voyage to London and why he left Boston when he did
- Copley’s political leanings
- What Copley may have made of American independence
- What Copley would think of his role as a founding father of American art
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jane Kamensky
- Jane’s Harvard Webpage
- A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley
- Courtauld Institute
- Karin Wulf, Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia
- Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution
- Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804
- J.L. Bell, The Boston Stamp Act Riots of 1765
- 016 Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
- 046 John Ferling, Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War that Won It
- 075 Peter Drummey, How Archives Work (Paul Revere)
- 083 Jared Hardesty, Slavery in Colonial Boston
- 085 Bonnie Huskins, American Loyalists in Canada
- 095 Rose Doherty, Tale of Two Bostons
In your opinion, what might have happened if Copley had stayed in Boston after 1774? How would he have weathered the coming War for Independence? Would he have still been able to make a living as an artist?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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