Archibald Willard, who served in the Civil War, was inspired to paint The Spirit of '76 (originally titled Yankee Doodle) after witnessing a parade commemorating the American Revolution. The painting depicts a fifer, a drummer, and a drummer boy marching across a battlefield during the War of Independence.
Hugh Moser (a Civil war veteran and friend of Willard's) posed as the fifer, Henry K. Devereux (son of General John H. Devereux) served as the model for the drummer boy, and Willard's father, Reverend Samuel Willard, was the inspiration for the drummer depicted in the center.
Symbolizing the spirit of the American Revolution, the painting was exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where it "stirred a nation". Due to its popularity, Willard painted 14 "original" copies, each has slight variations. An 1893 "retouching by the artist substantially altered the original. The version offered by Rebel Seed Studio is a copy of what is referred to as the "original version".
Artist: Archibald Willard (1836-1918)
Original medium: Oil on paper (chromolithograph reprints)
Image restored & enhanced by Rebel Seed Studio