1865 Committee of Congress Drafting the Declaration of Independence Hand-Colored Engraving after Peter Frederick Rothermel

This 1865 engraving by T. D. Booth after Peter Frederick Rothermel’s painting is a fantastic representation of a famous scene. Hand-colored and published in Ohio, the Committee of Congress Drafting the Declaration of Independence depicts Thomas Jefferson with John Adams and Benjamin Franklin presenting his rough draft of the historic document to Robert Livingstone and Roger Sherman. Set in a simple room with books strewn around, the artist captured the important messages: the people were to govern instead of a wealthy monarch and the men representing them are learned. In the margin at the bottom are the names of the figures, the title of the work, and the publishing information.

The Committee of Congress, also called the Committee of Five, was appointed in order to draft the Declaration of Independence to present to Congress for final ratification. Renowned for his writing skills, Adams requested Jefferson pen the first draft of the document and submit it for edits to the committee. Jefferson privately spoke with Franklin and Adams who edited the draft before he formally presented it to the other members. The scene depicted here shows the moment Jefferson defends his work to the Committee of Five. Adams and Franklin look on after already approving privately but Livingstone and Sherman listen intently and consider the work. Eventually, the other two members approve with no additional edits and on June 28, 1776 the draft of the Declaration of Independence was submitted to Congress.

The original artist, Peter Frederick Rothermel was an American painter in the 19th century. He was a well-studied artist, learning under Bass Otis as well as studying fine art while traveling across Europe. Eventually, Rothermel was elected a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he specialized in portraits and dramatic historical paintings. His expertise is reflected here in the portraits of these famous men as well as the historic moment he re-imagined.


Overall very good condition. The print’s colors are still vivid and all publishing information is legible and in tact. There are no visible creases, tears, or loss. The work is handsomely framed with multiple acid-free mats and UV protective glass according to the highest archival standards.

Framed Dimensions: 35.5" H x 30.25" W x 1.5" D

Related Items

Subscribe and save!

Sign up for our emails to receive exclusive flash sales! Get 50% off list price of incredible pieces, only offered to our subscribers.