1876 "The Day We Celebrate" Hand-Colored Engraving by John C. McRae after Frederick Augustus Chapman

This dramatic and lively print, “The Day We Celebrate,” is a celebratory 19th century scene. The image depicts a large gathering of people picnicking, playing games, and enjoying an Independence Day celebration. The guests are outdoors, among large trees and open lawn, with a distant view of a railroad train passing and ships on a waterway in the background.

Published during America’s Centennial, the print characterizes the jubilant atmosphere of that year’s celebration. The official Centennial celebration took place in Philadelphia in 1876. All manner of flags, prints, broadsides, and paintings were made for an eager public, as well as the official Centennial International Exposition, which was a World’s Fair event of massive scale.

This 1876 print was engraved by John C. McRae and based off a painting by F. A. Chapman. Chapman, a painter, was born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, on April 18, 1818. He moved to New York early in his life, where he studied painting under Professor S.F.B. Morse. In 1850, he worked in Brooklyn, practicing in the art of stained glass. His work in this medium includes a window in the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn.

Chapman was founder and first president of the Brooklyn Art Association and contributed many paintings to the exhibitions of that society for some years before his death in 1891.

Several of Chapman’s oil paintings were engraved or lithographed, notably “The Perils of Our Forefathers,” The Day We Celebrate,” “Raising the Liberty Pole,” “Discovery of the Hudson,” and “The Battle of Chancellorsville.”


Overall good condition. Some toning and light fading. Unframed dimensions: 24 1/2" H x 32 1/2" W.

Framed in a custom-built, wooden frame with acid-free navy mats, gold spandrels, and UV Conservation glass. 

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