Concord, MassachusettsTwo weeks of talks, readings, and discussions celebrating the written and the spoken word.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Book: A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley
Jane Kamensky is Professor of History at Harvard and Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library. She is a historian of early America, the Atlantic world, and the age of revolutions, with particular interests in the histories of family, culture, and every day life. She received her BA and PhD in History from Yale. Before coming to Harvard, she taught for two decades at Brandeis, where she won two awards for excellence in teaching and chaired the Department of History.
In A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley, she masterfully untangles the web of principles and interests that shaped the age of America’s revolution. Copley’s prodigious talent earned him the patronage of Boston’s patriot leaders, including Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. But the artist did not share their politics, and painting portraits failed to satisfy his lofty artistic goals. An ambitious British subject who lamented America’s provincialism, Copley looked longingly across the Atlantic. When resistance escalated into all-out war, Copley was in London. The magisterial canvases he created there made him one of the towering figures of the British art scene; a painter of America’s revolution as Britain’s American War.
Kamensky’s gripping history brings Copley’s world alive and explores the fraught relationships between liberty and slavery, family duty and personal ambition, legacy and posterity—tensions that characterized the era of the American Revolution and that beset us still.