The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack of Quebec, December 1775
Engravingpublished March 1798
About the work
On a snowy morning in 1775, British and Canadian troops waited in the town of Quebec for the ambush they were expecting from General Montgomery’s battalion. As Montgomery neared the town, he dashed forward, calling his men to follow. A hail of shot from the Canadian side killed the leader and several of his troops, instantly. In this dramatic composition, Trumbull shows Montgomery dying in the arms of Major Matthias Ogden, while his two aides-de-camp are already dead in the snow. To the left of the composition, comrades express their shock and distress at the sight before them. Just left of Montgomery, Colonel Joseph Louis Cook, a Native American Officer who served in the Continental Army, raises his tomahawk defiantly.
John Trumbull’s original oil painting for ‘The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec’ (1786) is at Yale University Art Gallery, along with two preparatory studies for the painting.
About the artist
John Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut; the son of a shipowner and later Governor of Connecticut. He studied at Harvard and under J. S. Copley, before serving in the War of Independence. In 1780 he travelled to London to study under B. West. He was imprisoned as a spy and forced to leave the UK but returned in 1784 to continue in West’s studio and study at the Royal Academy schools. He went back to America in 1789 and travelled along the east coast, painting portraits of participants in the War. He was later back in London to serve as Secretary to the Jay Treaty Commission. In 1817, in America again, he was commissioned to produce four murals for the dome of the Capitol and elected President of the American Academy. He died at 87.
Johan Frederik Clemens was a Danish line engraver of military, religious and other subjects, after his contemporaries. His prints include ‘Death of General Montgomery at the Attack of Quebec’ (published 1798) after John Trumbull (1756-1843) and ‘The Battle in the Roadstead, 2 April 1801’ after Christian August Lorentzen (1746-1828). Clemens worked for a time in Copenhagen, was in London during the years 1792 to 1795 and in 1825, and is known to have had an English wife.
- Montgomery, RichardCheeseman, JacobMacpherson, JohnCampbell, DonaldThompson, WilliamAtiatoharongwenMeigs, Return JonathanHendricks, WilliamWard, SamuelHumphries, JohnCooper, SamuelOgden, Matthias
- topography, snow, Native/Central American, 18th century costume, military uniform, boots, breeches, flag, death, tomahawk, bayonet, cannon, musket, general, American Revolutionary War, Battle of Quebec
- Materials & Techniques