"Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776" by W. L. Ormsby, after J. Trumbull

This is a beautiful impression of W. L. Ormsby’s late nineteenth century engraving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The engraving was produced for the Centennial of the signing of the Declaration. It is based on the epic 1820 oil painting by John Trumbull. Ormsby completed his engraved rendition of Trumbull’s painting in 1876.

John Trumbull started his painted masterpiece, “The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, July 4th, 1776," at Jefferson's residence in Paris. Trumbull later reported "I began the composition of the Declaration of Independence, with the assistance of his [Jefferson's] information and advice." Jefferson contributed a firsthand description and sketch of the Assembly Room for Trumbull. The committee responsible for the draft - John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin - are all depicted to the right of center. Trumbull painted Jefferson from life for the Declaration, and made three miniatures of the likeness. He dedicated himself to portraying from life as many of the forty-eight signers as he could. As a result, the original painting, located in the Yale University Art Gallery, was not completed until 1820.

Waterman Lilly Ormsby (1809-1883) studied at the National Academy of Design and eventually set up shop in New York. Ormsby specialized in the engraving of paper money, and later became one of the founders of the Continental Bank Note Company. 

The clarity and engraved detail of this print, like all of Ormsby’s work, is exceptional. A necessary piece commemorating one of the proudest moments in the history of these United States, this print would make a beautiful addition to any early American history collection.


The print is in very good condition. The print has been hand colored with a light watercolor wash.  The engraving impression is strong and paper is healthy. Titles and copyright information in the bottom margin, along with engraved key of signers. The print has been beautifully framed to conservation standards in a custom built wooden frame. Image size: 20.25" H x 30" W.

Framed Dimensions: 29 1/2"H 39"W x 1"D.

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