American Silversmiths

Edward Savage


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1. Sarah Seaver

Edward Savage
  • Born: 26 Nov 1761, Princeton MA
  • Marriage (1): Sarah Seaver on 14 Nov 1794 in Boston MA
  • Died: 6 Jul 1817, Princeton MA

  General notes:

Silversmith and artist

  Events in his life were:

  • The Savage Family, Abt 1779
  • He worked as a gold- and silversmith before 1789 26
  • He worked as a portrait painter circa 1789 26
  • London England, c 1790-1794: took training in stipple and mezzotint engraving. Published a portrait of General Knox in 1791 and a suite of Washington prints in 1792-1793. 26

  • Portrait of the Washington Family, c 1790
    National Gallery of Art Washington DC
    The Washington Family quickly became a veritable icon of our early national pride. In the winter of 1789-1790, President Washington and his wife posed for Savage in New York City, then the nation's capital. Mrs. Washington's grandchildren, adopted by the Washingtons after the deaths of their parents, probably also sat for their oil portraits in New York. Savage began to incorporate the separate life studies of their faces into a group portrait engraved on a copper plate. After a stay in England, he resumed the family portrait in Philadelphia -- this time, however, in large format as an oil on canvas. The Washington Family was exhibited in 1796.
    Savage's catalogue states that Washington's uniform and the papers beneath his hand allude to his "Military Character" and "Presidentship" respectively. With a map before her, Martha Washington is "pointing with her fan to the grand avenue," now known as Pennsylvania Avenue. A servant overdressed in livery and a supposed vista down the Potomac complete the imaginary scene.
    Savage's self-taught ability to distinguish between satins, gauzes, and laces is nothing short of astonishing. However, the anatomy alternates between wooden and rubbery, and the family strangely avoids eye contact. Despite Savage's lack of experience, his huge Washington Family remains one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a federal artist.
  • He worked about 1794 as a gold- and silversmith, engraver in Philadelphia PA 18

  • Mary Stiles Holmes, 1794
    Worcester Art Museum

  • Portrait miniature of Joseph Griffiths, c 1794
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Philadelphia PA, 1795: published the first panoramic print of the city. 26

  • Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth: Giving Support to the Bald Eagle, 1796
    Worcester Art Museum
    Stipple engraving on cream laid paper. In Philadelphia, on June 11, 1796, the artist published this reduced version of one of his canvases. Clad in flowing white draperies and a garland of spring flowers, the newly embodied goddess tramples the symbols of monarchy: a key, the medal and garter of a royal order, and a broken scepter. The eagle, symbol of the Republic, descends on shafts of light, to be nourished by Liberty. The flag of the union, topped by a liberty cap, is visible through the clouds of war, which spew lightning to drive the British fleet from Boston harbor.

Edward married Sarah Seaver, daughter of Unknown and Sarah Johonnot, on 14 Nov 1794 in Boston MA. (Sarah Seaver was born on 8 Sep 1765 and died on 27 Jan 1861 in Lancaster MA.)

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