John Sartain (London born 1808–died Philadelphia 1897)
William Penn at the Treaty Elm (after Henry Inman), 1834-35
mezzotint and engraving
Lafayette College Art Collection, Easton, Pa.
Museum Purchase, with funds provided by donations to the art collection acquisition fund. 2017
The print is based on a painting of William Penn by Henry Inman (1830-1831). The small preparative painting in the Kirby Collection of Historical Paintings is a color
study for a full-length work now exhibited in Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA. The Society for the Commemoration of the Landing
of William Penn commissioned this portrait in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the proprietor’s arrival in his new colony, Pennsylvania.
Lacking a life image of Penn, Inman borrowed from Benjamin West’s Penn’s Treaty with the Indians to portray the proprietor as an iconic
Quaker with background elements that reference a putative treaty between English colonists and indigenous residents. The painting carries deeper
references to colonial injustice, forced relocation and dissension in Penn’s utopia.