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Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Description: JOHN ANDRE
(1750 - 1780) British officer hanged as a spy during the American Revolution. In 1780 Andre had begun to plot with Gen. Benedict Arnold, likely at the suggestion of Arnold's loyalist wife, Peggy Shippen. Arnold, who commanded West Point, soon agreed to surrender the fort to the British for £20,000, a move that would enable the British to cut New England off from the rest of the rebellious colonies. On Sept. 20 and 21, 1780 Andre met with Arnold on the Hudson River and was handed plans on how best the fort might be attacked. Early on the 23rd, Andre was captured and, after a trial by Washington and other generals and a conviction, was hanged at Tappan, New York on Oct. 2, 1780. We offer an extremely rare original signed drawing, "Andre 1776" by him in the lower-right corner, 8" x 4 3/4" on laid paper. The drawing by Andre, a rather talented artist, depicts a crude farmhouse at left with a tree beside it, a two-rail fence blocking a road in foreground, and a smaller tree at right. On the verso of the drawing is penned the sterling provenance of this item: "This drawing is by Major John Andre Thos. P. Cope Phila. 1851" At a later time, apparently another party, perhaps Cope's spouse or child incorrectly added the words: "last drawing of" to Cope's initial provenance, also writing: "I hope you keep it and remember me always. This is the farm and the path...he spent his last days here". Thomas P. Cope (1768-1854) was a Quaker originally from Lancaster, a wealthy Philadelphia merchant and the son of farmer Caleb Cope. In 1774 Andre first came to America as lieutenant in the Royal English Fusiliers and in 1775 was taken prisoner at St. Johns, Canada. He was and sent to Lancaster where he was held on the farm of Caleb Cope, father of our Thomas P. Cope. The Copes developed a real affection for Andre, who gave art lessons to their eldest son, possibly our Thomas P. Cope! Cope very well could have kept the drawing as a souvenir of his friend and teacher, the British soldier, and later, spy.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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