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David Claypoole 
Johnston Collection

Johnston's Satires



David Claypoole Johnston had a great sense of humor and is probably best known for his satirical work. One of the first pieces of artwork attributed to him was a copper plate engraving, titled "A Militia Muster," published in 1819. It is signed "Drawn by Busybody, Eng'd by Nobody. Published by Somebody, for Anybody & Everybody." This work is satirical, poking fun at the unorganized nature of the citizen-soldier militia unit. Click to enlarge.


This print went through various incarnations throughout Johnston's career as an artist, many of which are in the American Antiquarian Society's collection. This watercolor was painted in 1828, and was first exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum in May of 1829, winning wide praise. Click to enlarge.




Johnston also published a similar lithograph around the same time, with the differences being in the details of the soldier's faces. The details of most of the soldier's faces are comical and unflattering, except for one that he added to the lithograph: a self-portrait. This self-portrait can be found in the second row of soldiers, just to the right of the portly man. Click to enlarge.



In 1862, Johnston republished the lithograph under the title "A Militia Drill Thirty Years Ago," incorporating minor changes from the original. His interest in the subject endured throughout his career. Click to enlarge.






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Last updated March 24, 2003

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A Militia Muster A Militia Muster A MIlitia Muster A Militia Drill Thirty Years Ago Introduction Johnston's Satirical Influence Johnston's Five States Johnston's
Watercolors Johnston's Drawings Johnston's Theatrical Influence Johnston's Political Influence Johnston's Publications Acknowledgements Bibiography Collection