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Dorchester Illustration of the Day, November 11, 2010
Illustration from Scraps by David Claypoole Johnston
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 Dorchester Illustration of the Day no. 1424

Illustration from Scraps, 1849, by David Claypoole Johnston.

David Claypool Johnston and his family lived at 32 Payson Avenue in Dorchester during Johnson's later years. Johnston was an important 19th century artist in the pioneer period of American graphic arts.

From American Antiquarian Society website:

David Claypoole Johnston was born in Philadelphia on March 25, 1799. He grew up in Philadelphia, and as a teenager was apprenticed to Francis Kearney for four years, where he learned engraving and etching. His first lithograph appeared in the December 1825 issue of the Boston Monthly Magazine.

In the early years of working as an artist, he supplemented his income by working as an actor, first in Philadelphia and later in Boston. He moved to Boston in 1825 to work in the theatre, and eventually began working as a lithographer with the Pendleton's. The first lithographed sheet music cover titled "The Log House," was lithographed by Johnston and published March 14, 1826.

Johnston's work was very well received in the United States. His most well-known topics include the militia, temperance, religion, and politics. He is best remembered for his contribution to the early years of lithography in America and as a humorist.

David Claypoole Johnston had a great sense of humor and is probably best known for his satirical work. One of the first pieces of artwork attributed to him was a copper plate engraving, titled "A Militia Muster," published in 1819. It is signed "Drawn by Busybody, Eng'd by Nobody. Published by Somebody, for Anybody & Everybody." This work is satirical, poking fun at the unorganized nature of the citizen-soldier militia unit.

In 1828, he began publishing the first of nine volumes of Scraps, which included caricatures that poked fun at events that interested him. Scraps was very well received by the public. One letter sent to Johnston states "The very interesting and amusing 'Scraps' which you were so kind as to send have caused me to laugh so heartily & so long that I have but just recovered steadiness of hand sufficient to write you a note of thanks for your attention. Pray accept my sincere tho' late acknowledgements & believe me."


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Created: November 11, 2010   Modified: November 11, 2010