The State Museum of Pennsylvania Image of Penn's Treaty
An Image of Peace: The William Penn Treaty

Article Titles

An Image
of Peace

Deeds of Peace

The Elegant Land

The Common People

Brother Onas...
William Penn

Creating an
Image of Peace

Spreading an
Image of Peace

Celebrating an
Image of Peace

Sharing an
Image of Peace

Image Gallery


Creating an Image of Peace
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

In 1773 English publisher John Boydell advertised his plan to issue a print of Penn's Treaty. During the next two years Boydell's employee John Hall engraved the copper printing plate. The first issue of the print appeared for sale in June 1775. Hall reversed the image, but the change had no effect on the popularity of the picture. The original copper printing plate served to produce copies of the print as late as 1932.

Copies of Hall's popular engraving traveled to France, inspiring Robert Delaunay to create his own version of Penn's Treaty. As the frontispiece to his Atlas Ameriquain Septentrionale Delaunay altered the proportions of the image to fit the book's format.

The image of Penn's Treaty quickly spread throughout Europe. By 1789 German engraver Heinrich Guttenberg reproduced a version of the scene in the book, Historie Philosophique du Commerce des Indes. Guttenberg based his work on a painting by the French artist Michel Moreau le Jeune completed nine years earlier.

The Penn family may have had a medal created about 1775 in both silver and bronze to send a message to the citizens of Pennsylvania. Indians have long served as a symbol of America. The handshake extended by an Englishman, probably William Penn, might suggest the good will extended to all residents of the colony.

Fashionable printed fabric sometimes carried images of historic events. When John Penn, grandson of William Penn, advertised the sale of furnishings in his Philadelphia home in 1778, he listed:

"One sett of Hair colour furniture cotton bed curtains, pattern William Penn's Treaty with the Indians; three window curtains to match ditto, with Cord,
tassels and screws."

Quakers in America quickly adopted the image of Penn's Treaty as a symbol of their heritage. A rare handkerchief, made about 1824, depicts the Friends Meeting House at Fourth and Arch Streets in Philadelphia along with the Treaty image.