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MSA SC 5590

Edwin Howland Blashfield (1848-1936)
Born: New York
Genre:Painting: mural, figure  

General G. Washington resigning his commission

Washington Surrendering His Commission
Unveiled January 9, 1903

This allegorical painting depicts General George Washington resigning his commission as commander in chief of the Continental Army at Annapolis, Maryland on December 23, 1783. In the central panel, Washington is depicted laying his commission at the feet of Columbia, who is seated on her throne with a sword, cuirass and wearing a liberty cap. Opposite Washington is a female figure representing Maryland. Behind her the Goddess of War is seen sheathing her sword and Resistance to Oppression breaking her rod, while Prosperity bears a horn of plenty and Commerce, holds the caduceus. Seated near the throne is the figure of History. In the left panel are officers and troops presenting arms. In the right panel is a magistrate, an officer of the French and Revolutionary armies.

Emily Emerson Lantz, Murals Adorning Baltimore Courthouse, Art and Archaeology, Vol. XIX, May-June 1925;
The Daily Record, Sunday January 10, 1903

Lord Baltimore commending his people to Wisdom, Justice, and Mercy
Religious Toleration
Unveiled January 11, 1905

The Toleration Act of 1649 reads as follows.

...whatsoever person or persons shall from henceforth upon any occasion of offence otherwise in a reproachfull manner or way declare call or denominate any person or persons whatsoever inhabiting, residing, traficking, trading or comercing within this province or within any ports, harbours, creeks or havens to the same belonging, an Heretick, Schismatick, Idolator, Puritan, Independent Presbyterian, Antenomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Seperatist, Popish Priest, Jesuit, Jesuited Papist, Lutheran, Calvenist, Anabaptist, Brownist or any other name or term in a reproachful manner relating to matters of Religion shall for every such offence foreit and lose the sum of ten shillings Sterling or the value thereof to be levied on the goods and chattels of every such offender and offenders...

The central figure in this painting is Lord Baltimore. Standing behind him are a Catholic priest and Protestant pastor together holding the edict of toleration. The nude boy in the center of painting is holding the scales level to symbolize equality. The goddess Justice is depicted in red and next to her is a boy holding a sheild with the date 1649, the year of the edict.

The following quote is from a letter written by Edwin Howland Blashfield read at the occasion of the unveiling of his painting: "What I intended to suggest was simply Lord Baltimore commending his people to Wisdom, Justice, and Mercy, Wisdom holds out the olive branch to to the tolerant"

The Burning of the Peggy Stewart & Religious Toleration in Maryland: Mural Decorations in the Baltimore Courthouse, The Muncipal Art Society of Baltimore, 1905

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