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Rare mezzotint portrait of Thomas Pownall, one of the most important figures in the later Colonial history of the British Colonies in North America.

Mezzotint portrait engraved by Richard Earlom after a painting by Francis Cotes.

Thomas Pownall was colonial governor of Massachusetts during the French and Indian wars. He was a staunch supporter of the American cause and argued against unfair taxation without representation. These controversial statements caused his dismissal from Massachusetts and his transfer to the governorship of South Carolina. During his time in America, Pownall completed a series of drawings for the first great collection of printed North American views, entitled the Scenographia Americana which were jointly published by leading print dealers of London.  

In the year of this portrait, responding to a colleague who sought to introduce measures to induce the colonies to return to the Crown, Pownall responded that "England's sovereignty over America was abolished and gone forever." This fine portrait demonstrates Earlom's meticulous style of engraving. 

Among map collectors, Pownall is perhaps best known as the Patron of Lewis Evans, who would later re-issue Evans Map of the Middle British Colonies in North America, and later improve and extend the coverage of the map under the title:

A map of the middle British colonies in North America. First published by Lewis Evans, of Philadelphia, in 1755; and since corrected and improved, as also extended, with the addition of New England, and bordering parts of Canada; from actual surveys now lying at the Board of Trade.

Russell, English Mezzotint Portraits, and their States 33. Phelps Stokes, I.N. Iconography, I, p. 281 et seq.; Phelps Stokes, I.N. American Historical Prints, B-92