Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, October 19th, 1781

Lithographed and published by Nathaniel Currier American
After John Trumbull American
Drawn on stone by Franz Venino American

Not on view

This print, based on the large 1820 painting by John Trumbull (1756-1843) displayed in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., depicts the 1781 surrender of the British army at Yorktown, Virginia, which ended the last major campaign of the American Revolutionary War. At the center of the scene, the American General Benjamin Lincoln, mounted on a white horse, extends his right hand to receive the sword from the surrendering British officer, General Charles O'Hara, dressed in a red jacket who stands at the head of a line of British troops. To the left, French officers, led by Comte de Rochambeau, appear standing and mounted beneath the white banner of the royal Bourbon family; French military forces had helped the Americans defeat the British. On the right are the American officers, who are both mounted and standing beside the flying United States flag. General George Washington, mounted on a brown horse at right, stayed in the background because Cornwallis himself was not present for the surrender.

Nathaniel Currier, whose successful New York-based lithography firm began in 1835, produced thousands of hand-colored prints in various sizes that together create a vivid panorama of mid-to-late nineteenth century American life and its history. People eagerly acquired such lithographs featuring picturesque scenery, rural and city views, ships, railroads, portraits, hunting and fishing scenes, domestic life and numerous other subjects, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments. As the firm expanded, Nathaniel included his younger brother Charles in the business. In 1857, James Merritt Ives (the firm's accountant since 1852 and Charles's brother-in-law) was made a business partner; subsequently renamed Currier & Ives, the firm continued until 1907. The firm provided many lithographs picturing aspects of American history, including images of key events, such as this one, that resulted in the birth of the United States as a nation.

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