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Paintings of Richard St. George
Images courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1922 (left) and the National Gallery of Ireland, Purchased, 1992 (part Lane Fund) Photo © National Gallery of Ireland (right)

What can a life tell us about an era?

These two portraits depict Richard Mansergh St. George, an Irish soldier who fought against two revolutions, one in America and one in Ireland. 

To the left is the young and confident St. George in 1776, dressed in his British Army uniform, ready to ship off to fight the American “rebels.” To the right is Richard Mansergh St. George grieving at his wife’s tomb two years before his tenants killed him at the beginning of the Irish Revolution of 1798. 

In the 20 years separating his portraits, St. George’s life changed dramatically. He survived a severe head wound in America, mourned over the tragic death of his wife, and saw the power of kings and of gentlemen like himself violently challenged on two continents. 

Along the way, St. George created and commissioned artwork to deal with his trauma and make sense of his rapidly changing world. His portraits, paintings, sketches, and cartoons provide new insight into the personal cost of revolution and the entangled histories of the American Revolution of 1776 and the Irish Revolution of 1798.

This online exhibit was adapted from the onsite special exhibit of the same name, which ran at the Museum from September 2019 through March 2020.

1.

St. George’s Ireland

A Divided Population
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2.

American War

Fighting for the Crown
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3.

 Wounded Veteran

A Man Versed in Misfortune
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4.

Irish Revolution

Fighting for Independence in 1798
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Battle of Paoli painting
Museum of the American Revolution
Virtual Exhibit

Detective Story: Why Richard Mansergh St. George?

For over 60 years, two Revolutionary War battle paintings in the Museum of the American Revolution’s collection have puzzled historians. Created by Italian artist Xavier della Gatta in 1782, the paintings vividly and accurately depict the 1777 battles of Paoli and Germantown, part of the Philadelphia Campaign. Della Gatta, however, never set foot in America. Why did Xavier della Gatta choose to paint these battles and how was he able to depict them so accurately? Careful detective work has revealed answers in the life of Richard Mansergh St. George, a veteran of both battles.

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Related Resources

Martin Mansergh
 

2019 International Conference on the American Revolution

Watch the sessions from the Oct. 3-5, 2019, conference inspired by Cost of Revolution.

Watch
Seth Reichgott as Richard St George
 

“Meet Richard St. George” Performance

Watch the original first-person theatrical performance portraying Irish soldier and artist Richard Mansergh St. George in 1798.

Explore
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About the Onsite Exhibit

Learn the untold story of and Irish soldier and artist, whose life provides a window into the entangled histories of the American and Irish Revolutions.

Details

In The News

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The Philadelphia Inquirer

American Revolution museum’s new 'Irish Soldier’ exhibit has it all: Love. Death. Psychodrama.

by Stephan Salisbury

The Philadelphia Inquirer previewed the Cost of Revolution exhibit, which delved into the trans-Atlantic impact of the American Revolution.

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The Magazine Antiques

Done in by Rebellion

by Matthew Skic

Exhibit curator Matthew Skic provided insight into how Irish soldier Richard St. George helped Italian artist Xavier della Gatta capture scenes from the battles of Paoli and Germantown.

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Irish America Magazine

The American Revolution and Ireland

by Maggie Holland

Irish America Magazine looked into the entangled histories of the American Revolution of 1776 and the Irish Revolution of 1798.

Read More

The Cost of Revolution online exhibition was made possible by Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.

LINE OF IRELAND SPONSORS
Kazie and John C. Harvey
Irish Georgian Society
Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme

SUPPORTERS
Richard Brown and Mary Jo Otsea
Irish American Business Chamber and Network
The Society of St. George – Philadelphia
Welfare Foundation
WSFS Bank 

Additional Support Provided By:
Peter Mark
James S. and Sally Studdiford