A Revolution in Color
The World of John Singleton Copley
This bold new history recovers the American Revolution, as seen through the eyes of Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley.
In this life of painter John Singleton Copley, Jane Kamensky untangles the web of principles and interests that shaped the age of America’s revolution. Copley’s talent earned him the patronage of Boston’s leaders but he did not share their politics and painting portraits failed to satisfy his lofty artistic goals. A British subject who lamented America’s provincialism, Copley looked longingly across the Atlantic. When resistance escalated into war, he was in London. A painter of America’s revolution as Britain’s American War, the magisterial canvases he created made him one of the towering figures of the British art scene. Kamensky brings Copley’s world alive and explores the fraught relationships between liberty and slavery, family duty and personal ambition, legacy and posterity—tensions that characterised the era of the American Revolution and that beset us still.
“... I commend Kamensky's skill as a writer. Even if you had little interest in such a man as Copley, this is a deeply enjoyable book.” — David Aaronovitch, Book of the Week, The Times
“Jane Kamensky has not only crafted a stunning biography but also a truly singular account of The American Revolution. A Revolution in Color masterfully unravels any easy distinctions between patriots and loyalists.”
— Amanda Foreman