William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians

This version of ‘Penn’s Treaty with the Indians’ was painted in the 1st half of the 19th century by an unidentified artist probably in the Philadelphia area. After the engraving by John Hall was published in London by John Boydell in 1775, it became popular among artists, both trained and untrained, to copy Benjamin West’s famous painting already an American icon at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. This particular painting descended in the family of Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), one of Philadelphia’s most famous surgeons at Pennsylvania Hospital and signer of the Declaration of Independence.

This painting was later hung at the Swarthmore Borough Hall until sometime in the 1960’s when during a fire the painting was rescued and returned to the family where it remained until we acquired it. Both wood analysis and paint analysis confirm the possibility of the painting having been completed before Dr. Rush’s death.