For some reason I recently wanted to learn more about the early American painter John Singleton Copley. My curiosity and effort were amply rewarded by the beautiful paintings that I found on the Internet.
Paul Revere: Portrait, Church, Silvershop
Of all the Copleys I found, however, none enchanted me nearly as much as Copley's portrait of Paul Revere. (Be sure to have a look at the enlarged image too.) We tend to think of Revere, I believe, as a shadowy and almost unreal figure. But this portrait persuades us of how very real he was.
Fittingly, this portrait hangs in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. The MFA has a site with still more information about this painting.
A related site is that of the Old North Church, from which the lanterns were hung that initiated Revere's famous ride. The Church site is small but good, with a brief history and tour of the church, built more than 50 years before the Revolution, in 1723. Later a small Chapel of St. Francis was built for Italian Waldensian immigrants; it is now the Church's museum and gift shop. If you have a few more moments, there is a slighly more elaborate online Guide to the historic Church.
A third site that surprised me with the quality of its contents is the Paul Revere House. It provides a fairly full account of the midnight ride, complete with Longfellow's famous poem. My favorite part of this site concerns Revere's silvershop. It contains photos of both the shop and of actual Revere silverwork, which is now expensive enough to warrant special Sotheby's auctions.
The site's other material is also good, though, including a brief history of the house, quite a lot of biographical material and even information about other Revere businesses, such as his foundry and copper mill.
March 26, 2001