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The Illustrated Inventory of Paul Revere's works
at the American Antiquarian Society - How to use this site & topic suggestions

How to use this site & topic suggestions for further study

How to use this site
In addition to the resized JPEG files available for web and research use (which can be zoomed in for viewing, we have also created PDF files of Revere’s images to be used for printing-purposes such as posters, projects, and worksheets. There is also a 240-300 ppi JPG image available for graphic designers and scholars to download as a place-holder for imagery or for researchers to examine Revere’s work in a higher-resolution.

For each image inventoried, you will find their titles (given or inferred), size of the original sheet, as well as indication if the item is bound, plate when visible, the approximate date and a link to the online catalog (when a catalog record exists). For interested researchers, this serves as a way into the AAS OPAC to see similar items in our holdings (for example, other merchants advertising cards from the eighteenth-century).

In order to help keyword search across the inventory, we have provided a Searchable PDF as well as a Thumbnail Gallery with reduced-sized images to view the contents of the entire inventory.

The Resources page lists other Revere collections, sites and bibliography of works and sources.

Revere’s prints fit into various subjects and can therefore be found under several headings. The Subject-Tag Browse feature of this site serves as a visual index for these images and is a tool for browsing. The tag cloud at the top shows an anchored list of the 31 headings.

Revere’s cuts in lead do not have separate catalog records in either the general AAS Online Catalog or the Catalog of Engravings (CAEP), subsequently there is no link provided. Instead we have supplied the Reilly number which corresponds to Elizabeth Carroll Reilly’s A Dictionary of Colonial American Printers’ Ornaments and Illustrations [click here for catalog record].


Topic suggestions for further study

  • Consider the potential iconography of Revere’s images, (for example his dogs, his clocks or his trees); many of his images and ideas are highly symbolic. What does it uncover to view these items as they relationally appear to other objects?

  • Revere’s currency for Massachusetts changes subtly during the course of the Revolution. Do you notice these changes? How do they reflect the changes going on politically?

  • Some engraved items such as billheads and advertising cards are ephemeral in nature but, by chance or not, have managed to survive. Through them we can see what domestic goods looked like and learn more about the merchant-customer exchange. How and why do you think the trade cards were illustrated this way? What does it say about the merchants who sold these goods?

  • The majority of Revere’s plates for the Royal American Magazine were copied from British originals; several of these appear in the European Political Print Collection (The Able Doctor and The Mitred Minuet are two examples). These images offer diverse views of the build-up to the Revolutionary War. Compare Revere’s prints against some of the holdings in this collection and note their differences. How important do you think audience is in the printmaking process?

  • Using the zoomify feature, look between the trees in the King Philip image by Revere. What do you see? What do you think it says about the portrait of the subject? Of the eighteenth century’s views of the Indians of North America?

  • Several of Revere’s cuts in lead appear in multiple publications. One such example is his cut of the man and skeleton which appears on A Vision of Hell, a pamphlet which describes a dialogue between devils. The image also appears at the top of an execution poem on a broadside, “The Speech of Death to Levi Ames.” What do you think it means that an image would be re-used to illustrate two different texts and events? One real and one imaginary?

  • While Revere was an ardent Patriot of the Revolution, he was also a businessman commissioned for his engraved work. One curious piece is the bookplate he created for Andrew Oliver (1706-1774), the unpopular administrator of the Stamp Act. Do you think this item is significant or immaterial?

  • Some of Revere’s pieces at first glance may seem uninteresting, but upon further examination reveal much about eighteenth-century life. One such example is his “Anatomical Lectures Certificate” which features a man dissecting a body; on the neck of the corpse is a noose. In Christine Quigley’s The Corpse: a History we are told that in late eighteenth-century Massachusetts “lawmakers made available the bodies of the executed to anatomists” for dissection and study (Quigley, 293). Do you think it was important to show the noose around the corpse’s neck? As you browse through the collection, do you see other such examples of eighteenth-century social practices?

  • Revere uses “across from the Liberty Stump” several times in his pieces, likely as a way for his clients to visualize where his business is located, but also to invoke early patriotism and highlight his ties to the cause. What do you think it means that he uses the former site of the liberty tree as a marker in his works?

  • Chippendale mantling appears across genres in Revere’s works. As discussed in the introduction, Revere was a noted and well-known silversmith. Why do you think he made such heavy and frequent use of this style?

  • Revere’s “Obelisk” at the American Antiquarian Society is an only extant copy known of this print. Indeed, it is one of the only records of what appeared on the ephemeral structure. Because the “monument” itself did not survive, the print is imbued with even more importance. Do you agree? Why or why not?


[Details above from Revere's 'Landing of the Troops' located in Box 2 Folder 1.]


This site last updated: March 2011
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