Engraving of William Penn

Description

William Penn (1644–1718) occupies a key place in the American history of Magna Carta. In 1681, Penn was granted land west of the Delaware River by King Charles II (r. 1660–85), in order to found a colony. His constitution for what became Pennsylvania has clear echoes of Magna Carta, while The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property, traditionally attributed to him, contains the first translation of Magna Carta published in America, together with a commentary on that text, plagiarised from the work of Henry Care (1646–88). This line engraving of William Penn by John Hall (1739–97) is based on an earlier likeness by Pierre Eugène Du Simitière (173684). Penn’s bust is presented in a roundel, atop a plinth inscribed ‘WILLIAM PENN FIRST PROPRIETOR AND FOUNDER OF PENNSILVANIA’. The sealed Charter of Pennsylvania hangs on the left, beside a selection of Penn’s writings, one of which bears distinct resemblance to The Excellent Priviledge.

Full title:
William Penn
Created:
1773
Format:
Artwork
Language:
English
Creator:
John Hall
Copyright:
© National Portrait Gallery
Usage terms

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Held by
National Portrait Gallery
Shelfmark:
NPG D40139

Related articles

Early America and Magna Carta

Article by:
Matthew Shaw
Theme:
Legacy

From the early colony of Pennsylvania, to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, Curator Dr Matthew Shaw reveals the influence of Magna Carta as a symbol of liberty in early America.

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