REVERE, PAUL. 1735-1818.
The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King-Street Boston on March 5th, 1770.... Boston: Engraved, printed and sold by Paul Revere, [but printed by Edes & Gill around March 28, 1770].
Engraving on laid paper with hand-coloring, 290 x 240 mm (sheet size). Laid down with restored losses to about 2 1/2 by 2" of upper right corner affecting 2 words of title, smaller chips along edges and 2 pea-sized chips in background buildings at right, wear and slight losses visible along the many repaired tears, clock-face colored in. Matted and framed.
THE MOST ICONIC IMAGE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AS ENGRAVED BY PAUL REVERE: "IRREFUTABLY THE CORNERSTONE OF ANY AMERICAN COLLECTION" (Brigham). There are no comparable engravings which combine as this one does the depiction of a critical historical event executed by a famous patriot with the startling, gory and crudely-colored imagery. The scene features 8 British red-coats led by Captain Preston with his sword raised and the others all firing their muskets at a group of unarmed colonists. Three civilians are prostrate on the ground and bleeding and another is falling backwards, bleeding from the head. There is an 18-line poem "Unhappy Boston!" in three columns below the image as well as a list of the dead and wounded.
Also, the printing history of the "Boston Massacre" engraving is tantalizingly convoluted. There were three prints issued in Massachusetts in 1770: by Henry Pelham, Paul Revere, and Jonathan Mulliken. Paul Revere's was advertised first, on March 26, 1770 in both the Boston Evening Post and the Boston Gazette. However, only a week later there appeared in the same venues advertisements for Pelham's version as the "Original Print." According to a letter from Pelham to Revere dated March 29, 1770 Pelham had shown his depiction to Revere for advice and Revere then proceeded to cut his own version. No record of Revere's reply is known, though many have speculated that Revere's plagiarism stemmed from patriotic zeal rather than simple greed. Mulliken's version was issued in Newburyport and is a close copy of Revere's engraving which, having been published first, was considerably more successful than that of Pelham. Revere's engraving was printed in 200 copies and the original plate is at the State House in Boston. Brigham, Paul Revere's Engravings, 1954, pp 41-57, pl 14.