American Revolution

To mark Independence Day on July 4th, we are exhibiting some Soldiers of the Revolution made by Royal Doulton to celebrate the Bicentenary of the United States in 1976. We are also featuring the Royal Doulton figure of George Washington at Prayer, which was modeled by the distinguished Hungarian-born sculptor Sir Laszlo Ispanky.

The American soldiers in their regimental attire were chosen to represent the original thirteen colonies and Royal Doulton Art Director, Eric Griffiths, spent six years developing the collection in association with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The soldiers’ uniforms and weaponry were researched and then verified as accurate by military historians. Having established that the designs for the revolutionary soldiers were authentic in every detail, Eric Griffiths modeled the porcelain figures together with Bill Harper. The Soldiers of the Revolution were issued over a three-year period between 1975 and 1977 and the edition was limited to 350 of each sculpture.

The image of Washington kneeling in prayer during the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge is one of the most powerful images of the American revolutionary war and has become part of the national mythology. It has inspired many paintings and sculptures over the years, despite controversy over the veracity of the scene. Biographers of Washington have pointed out that Washington would stand when praying and that he detested anything that brought a man to his knees. Nevertheless, tales of the prayer and American soldiers' endurance during the Valley Forge winter gained renewed meaning during the American Civil War. John McRae based his engraving of Washington's "Prayer at Valley Forge" on an 1866 painting by Henry Brueckner, which in turn inspired Ispanky’s sculpture.