Oil on canvas; 35 x 29 in. Evanston Historical Center, Evanston, IL.
William Dawes (1745—99) was the
other rider who rode with Paul Revere to Lexington and Concord on the night of 18 April 1775. The image here, with variations, is our standard image of William Dawes, but with conflicting attributions:
● According to the Illinois Portrait and Sculpture Index (The National Society of the Dames of America in the State of Illinois; 1996; pp. 21-22.), the artist is unknown. It also says that while the painting is on display at the Evanstan Historical Center, the painting is owned by Northwestern University.
● According to Corbis Images the painter was Daniel J. Strain (1847 - 1925).
The painting, in fact, was executed by John Johnston (or Johnson), a Bostonian who was trained as an ornamental painter. He and his brother-in-law, Daniel Rea, had a decorating business, but Johnston was also a talented portraitist and miniaturist. During the American Revolution he served under General Henry Knox with Richard Gridley’s artillery regiment (1775) and became a lieutenant and then a captain. He fought in the Battle of Long Island (1776), was wounded, and taken prisoner by the British before being honorably discharged. (See: Coburn, Frederick W., “The Johnstons of Boston.” Art in America, 21 (1932-33), 27-36, 132-8.)
This portrait, the only extant image of Dawes,
was deeded to the Evanston History Center (then the Evanston Historical Society) when the Dawes family gave their house to us (per the curator, Erin F.H. Hughes, on 16-Oct-2012).