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Convention at Philadelphia by Elkanah Tisdale

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by Elkanah Tisdale

Convention at Philadelphia by Elkanah Tisdale

Elkanah Tisdale's Gerrymander/Salamander cartoonElkanah Tisdale was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1771. We know that he worked as an engraver in New York between 1794 and 1798 and then returned to Connecticut where he created The Hartford Engraving Company. He was also recognized as a miniature painter and a cartoonist. He is responsible for drawing the famous Gerrymander/Salamander cartoon which appeared originally in 1812 Boston.

Tisdale’s engraving of the Convention at Philadelphia appeared in an 1823 edition of A History of the United States. Washington is standing, clearly recognizable, and taller than anyone else. Thus begins a tradition for subsequent visual interpretations of the Convention. The two windows are another feature worthy of note. This also becomes a regular feature for artists who differ, however, on whether to close the shades/drapes or leave them open. The fact that a spire is visible through the window, suggests that for Tisdale the delegates are meeting upstairs rather than downstairs in Independence Hall.