The History of La Guerre D'Independance
June 2023: Drone Technology students have helped record and create a promotional video for the historic Mexico High School.Students in the school's first offering of the Drone Technology program filmed both outside and inside of the historic academy-style building to highlight both the old style of the building and its unique mural that wraps around the main foyer.
Below is their video, narrated by MHS English instructor Joseph Deckman.
The below history of the mural comes from documents gathered at the time that the mural research was taking place. Authorship is unknown.
This great multicolored (at least 220 colors) woodblock scenic of thirty-two strips was first printed in 1852-53. A minimum of 1650 blocks were required to print it and it has a shaded blue sky. While Ehrmann and Zipelius are credited with the original painting Deltel was in fact the artist and the scenic unmistakably bears his hand in both design and color. The specialty of Ehrmann and Zipelius was floral scenics such as "Isola Bella," "El Dorado."
There has been controversy about the year it was first issued, some authorities claiming 1852, with others an earlier date of 1834. Since the background design of "War of Inde- pendence" is the same as that of "Scenic America," the 1834 date is claimed; yet, that such is not the case will be recognized by reflecting upon the great amount of time and work required to design and color a second completely different set of figures; cut, register and proof by hand a second completely different set of blocks, then print the edition by hand. Such work could not have been accomplished in the same year with "Scenic America." Further evidence, if required, lies in the fact that the second printing of "Scenic America" was undertaken in 1851, thus permitting the additional background to be prepared for "War of Independence" at the same time.
That the "War of Independence" has probably been issued only twice is accepted. The first in 1852-53 with the second and last printing finally completed after almost six years of work in 1930. Normally a project of 18 to 24 months' duration, the second printing had been planned as a special edition in celebration of the 1926 Sesquicentennial, (150 year anniversary) of the United States, in Philadelphia. The only known sets remaining available of this rare, out-of-print, scenic (The Diament Collection) bear at the bottom of each strip the confusing legend: SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION 1776-1930. The timing miscalculation is not a discredit when one remembers: the scenic had not been issued for nearly 75 years; sixteen hundred and fifty woodblocks had to be located, repaired or new ones engraved, the print rotation and register for each determined and the scenic printed. There was no one still alive who knew this detail first-hand after 75 years.
The scenic was designed in five distinct scenes of historic significance. That each scene tells its own story and flows into the next to create an artistic whole is an epitome of composition and execution.
Panels 1- 8
Represents the storming and capture of a fort on Weehawk Hill by American Volunteers and Militia assisted by troops led by General Lafayette who, in the course of this violet combat, takes possession of a cannon. In the distance one distinguishes the City of New York. The little island of the Governor, which commands the mouth of the Hudson, is hidden by the smoke of battle.
Represents the surrender of the English and General Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. In a wonderful scene, numbers of troops assembled are present at the surrender of the enemy flags and, in the foreground, one distinguishes General Cornwallis in person who, despair depicted on his face, goes to give his sword into the hands of his conqueror.
Panels 15 - 20
In these panels we witness the "Triumphal Entry of General Washington into the City of Boston." Followed by his brilliant staff, he responds to the enthusiastic citizens and to the wild ovations of the crowd massed at the boat landing.
Has for their theater the famous scenery, the bridge of rock which is found in the Allegheny Mountains in Virginia (Natural Bridge). It represents embattled English troops evidently believing themselves outflanked, falling back and, in the foreground, the commanding officer with his staff attempts to organize the retreat.
Panels 26 - 32
Here we are carried into a battle episode against a background of Niagara Falls whose deafening roar is not more impressive than the battle which the immortal Washington commands in person in the foreground.
The essence of freedom, since the days of Jefferson and Franklin, is thoughtfully distilled into this scenic. It is fitting and proper that it is hung in the official Washington, D. C., residence of the President of the United States.
The scenic is made up of thirty-two strips, 18 inches (0.46 M) wide, with the highest part of the design 6 feet, 8 inches (2.03M) (strip # 14). The length of each strip is 12 feet (3.66M) and a set covers 48 feet (14.64 M). It is printed with tempera color.