Schoolboy Watercolor Depicting the "Grand Federal Edifice," by Charles May Dawes, "Done at M. Lane's School," Boston area, c. 1788, signed "Charles Dawes/AElulis sua 13" l.r., watercolor and ink with gilt foil accents on laid paper, 19 x 25 3/4 in., in original molded wooden frame and glass. Condition: Toning, creases, stains, small edge tears and losses.
Note: This work was done by Charles May Dawes (b. February 23, 1776, d. 1853), at around the age of thirteen. He was the son of William Dawes, Jr. (April 5, 1745– February 25, 1799) and Mehetable (May) Dawes. William Dawes was notable in American history as one of the three riders who, along with Paul Revere and Dr. Samuel Prescott, set out to alert colonial minutemen of the approach of British army troops prior to the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the outset of the American Revolution. The picture is an architectural metaphor representing the Constitution, a "Temple of Liberty," constructed as states gradually ratified the Constitution during 1787 and 1788. It portrays eleven columns, representing the eleven states in the Union at the time before North Carolina and Rhode Island were included. An engraved cartoon published earlier in the ratification process, titled "The Grand Federal Edifice." was published in The Massachusetts Centinel, February 9, 1788, and has similar columns with the names of six states ratified.
Provenance: By family descent.