John Orne Johnson "J.O.J." Frost (American, 1852-1928)
"Major Pedrick. To the Town of Salem, to Give the Alarm." Unsigned, titled l.l. Watercolor on paperboard, depicting a pre-Revolutionary War event which took place in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1775, showing an elevated view of the harbor there with inscriptions identifying the blacksmith, King street, and a few of the buildings; a c. 1920s photograph showing a view of Marblehead Harbor has been pasted over a building at l.l., and a small paper label fragment is applied over the foundation and corner of a large yellow building above the photograph is inscribed "J.O.J. Frost/born/Jane Road/The Orne," possibly referring to the Azore Orne home, 38 7/8 x 46 7/8 in., in a mitered wood frame. Condition: This painting is the largest fragment of a larger painting. The lower left corner of this painting has an inset replacement panel measuring 13 x 5 3/8 in., which is held in place by a larger piece of paperboard glued from behind, then painted, including the first six letters of the title inscription. These alterations may have been done by Frost some time before he died in 1928, or by his son. The left third of the painting sold as a separate painting titled "The Alarm-the Red Coats are Coming" (Lot 12), in a 1971 Sotheby Parke Bernet auction of Frost paintings. The catalog features a photograph taken of Frost holding the complete painting before the left third was removed.
Provenance: Estate of Gail and John Rodgers, Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Note: This painting depicts a pre-Revolutionary War event known as "Leslie's Retreat," which took place on February 26, 1775, in which the British force under Colonel Alexander Leslie landed at Marblehead, Massachusetts, under orders by General Gage in Boston to march to Salem to seize weapons that were reported to have been gathered there by the colonials. Reportedly, upon his hearing this news, Major John Pedrick, a merchant and militia officer in Marblehead, rushed on horseback to the North Church in Salem to alert the militia there. The message then spread quickly to the neighboring towns, and a large group of colonials, estimated by some to be as many as ten to fifteen thousand, proceeded to the bridge in Salem, where Colonel Leslie and his troops were turned back to Marblehead Harbor, and then back to Boston.