Brooch showing the Triumph of AmericaMade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America
William Birch, American (born England), 1755 - 1834
Enamel on copper; gold frame
1912-104Purchased with the Joseph E. Temple Fund, 1912
The scene on this brooch is based on a print after Julia Plantou’s painting The Treaty of Ghent and The Triumph of America, which celebrated the United States’ victory over Great Britain in the War of 1812. America is personified as an Indian princess, shown holding the American flag as she passes beneath a victory arch on her way to the Temple of Peace. A young woman throws flowers in her path and an eagle leads the way.
Although adapted to be worn as a brooch, William Birch’s accounts suggest this piece was originally made as the top for a small box. Having mastered the difficult and time-consuming art of enameling in his native London, Birch continued to produce these durable and jewel-like objects in the United States. He is best known, however, for his engraved views in The City of Philadelphia. . ., published in 1800 with an eye to promoting the city through renderings of its handsome architecture.
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