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Discovery: John Archibald Woodside, Sr. (1781-1852) Patriotic Watercolor

Discovery: John Archibald Woodside, Sr. (1781-1852) Patriotic Watercolor
John Archibald Woodside, Sr. (1781-1852)
Philadelphia, PA, 1820-1830
Watercolor, pen and ink, gold and silver on paper
13-1/4 x 11 inches
Signed: J. A. Woodside
Courtesy of Alan and Judith Snyder

John Woodside was considered the best sign and decorative painter in Federal Philadelphia; his work possibly influenced folk artist Edward Hicks (1780-1849). Most of Woodside's pieces are unsigned. In this image, Woodside's name is signed on a rock in the foreground. This is perhaps the only known example of a signed, finished watercolor painting by this artist; it will perhaps help in attributing other works to his hand.

The patriotic, allegorical image is painted in vibrant colors depicting the Goddess of Wisdom (Minerva) placing a golden crown of five -- pointed stars upon the head of a very young, modest Miss Liberty. Miss Liberty holds her wreath, spear, and frond, symbols of Victory, War, and Peace. The figure of a winged Miss Liberty appears in several other known works by Woodside.

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