The Battle of Bunker’s Hill, near Boston, June 17th 1775
Engravingpublished March 1798
About the work
This scene shows the Battle of Bunker Hill, near Boston, which took place on 17 June 1775. British Major John Small (1726-1796) is seen protecting American doctor and soldier Joseph Warren (1741-1775) as British grenadiers approach. Two grenadiers, armed with a bayonet and a sword, prepare to finish the dying American soldier in revenge for an attack on their wounded comrade, carried behind them. John Trumbull, the artist of the work, has indicated the humanity and suffering of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
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.