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American Rococo by suburbanbeatnik American Rococo by suburbanbeatnik
These are two of my favorite people from the American Revolution- Peggy Shippen, the glamorous and fun-loving Tory socialite that fell in love with Benedict Arnold, and Major John André, artist, soldier and spy for His Majesty, King George. Here are the two of them in happier days, when the British occupied Philadelphia through 1777-1778. They're in the garden of the City Tavern, with Peggy exclaiming over her fashionable new 'do and André sketching her.

I was inspired to do this painting, sort of, by remembering what a hatchet job both Peggy and André got in Ann Rinaldi's lousy YA novel, "Finishing Becca." In that book, Peggy- portrayed as a cross between Hitler and Paris Hilton- was forever breaking expensive doodads and pitching screaming hissy fits, and was described as "evil" by the Patriot heroine of the book. André, meanwhile, was like a cousin to the wicked Marquis St. Evrémonde in "Tale of Two Cities," the guy who kept running over peasant kids in his coach; he fiddles while Rome burns, so to speak, by planning parties and balls, and he tries to rape our heroine once or twice. Someday, I'm going to do my own book (illustrated, of course!) about Peggy and André... they deserve better!
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:iconobiwanlives4ever:
Obiwanlives4ever Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014
I appreciate the effort you've put into portraying these two. While I don't know either of them, it always irks me when many historical conflicts (excepting things like genocide, of course) are portrayed in an entirely black-and-white light, especially something like the American Revolution. A character can be on a different 'side' as the main character without being portrayed as a total psycho; and I'll admit, I cringed when I read how the author of this novel felt a real-life person had to be degraded to "a cross between Hitler and Paris Hilton" just to show that "she's the bad guy!!!1"
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, don't read Ann Rinaldi's Finishing Becca. It's a pretty awful depiction of the time period; plus Andre is reduced to a mustache-twirling victim.

On the other hand, Donna Thorland's The Turncoat is great! Highly recommended. :)
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:iconxx-ciela-xx:
xX-Ciela-Xx Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Student Writer
I don't know much about either person, but you certainly did them justice with your painting. You've sparked my interest in learning about the other side of my country's revolution. So many interesting people to discover and learn from throughout history of all different nationalities, races, and opinions.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:iconxx-ciela-xx:
xX-Ciela-Xx Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Student Writer
You're welcome.
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:iconcobrabasket:
CobraBasket Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
Its soooooo beautiful! I find the gowns of that kind very hard to draw.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
It has taken a lot of practice for me to draw them! :)
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:iconkenzieiscool:
kenzieiscool Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am crazy about the colors and the lines in this! And youknow I'm history nerd when I saw that picture and I knew who the two were! You did an excellent job capturing their likeness.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Hey, thanks! That's cool you recognized them-- it seems that a lot of people don't know who they are, which is too bad.
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:iconginseng-cielo:
Ginseng-Cielo Featured By Owner May 4, 2011
I love this, it's really beautiful. I also like that you referenced Tale of Two Cities in your description!
Was André the person whose death was referenced in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?
This picture makes me want to research them, they sound really interesting!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Peggy and Andre were very interesting people! They deserve to be better known.

Was Andre's death referenced in "Sleepy Hollow"? I don't know-- I haven't seen that movie in ages.
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:iconginseng-cielo:
Ginseng-Cielo Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2011
I think it was only in the book
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:iconlluvia185:
lluvia185 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2011
Astonishing artwork!! :jawdrop:

Congrats!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:icontursiart:
tursiart Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I love your drawing style here. What media did you use to create this? At first glance, I thought maybe it was oil pastel but upon looking at it closer, it looks like ink quill strokes and maybe some brush strokes in there with some color pencil over a flat color... did you use multiple media?
Anyway, I love the overal effect of whatever you used.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Actually, I used acrylic paint. Thanks! :)
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:iconpholcidae:
Pholcidae Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2009
You have no idea how happy I was when I saw this piece. I always have such a hard time finding people who know about these two lovely figures. The style and colors are perfect for the carefree summer setting.I also love that John is drawing Peggy; he almost seems to be concentrating more on getting her hair's proportions right, instead of listening to her talk about it. ;) Wonderful sense of movement!

I read that book too, and I was not impressed. I honestly would not have cared at all if all of the characters were fictional, but her "take" on their history was incredibly one-sided and exaggerated. Her author's note in the back made me itch as well.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
That's so good to hear! I had a lot of fun painting this piece. Peggy wore some incredibly large hairdos in the 1770s. Those Philly girls back then were no slouches when it came to fashion!

Yeah, I am not a big fan of Ann Rinaldi. But she's written books even more offensive than "Finishing Becca." Check out this article about her ghastly book "My Heart Is on the Ground: The diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux girl." It really pissed off a lot of Indians. [link]
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:iconpholcidae:
Pholcidae Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009
I love those fabulous gals! ;)

Why is she still even writing? "My Heart is on the Ground" sounds like cheap and lazy writing(Google and Wiki-worthy research...). What gets me are her self-loving author's notes at the end of both novels. Do you know if that essay was sent to her?
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Well, there was a big uproar after "Heart" was published, so she must have known what people were saying. However, she might just have just put her fingers in her ears and went "la la la la la," since I have never heard of any apology.

Anyway, have you ever read Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian"? It's a great book, and he's a very cool guy!
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:iconpholcidae:
Pholcidae Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2009
That wouldn't surprise me if she did!

I haven't, but I'll add it to my never-ending list of must-reads!
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:iconptdahood:
PTDaHood Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009   Writer
Seriously, luff the way it's drawn, and the face expressions.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconfoxy-lady-jacqueline:
Foxy-Lady-Jacqueline Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, I remember reading about Peggy Shippen and Andre. I love your version of them. They look great! I love how you drew their expressions & poses and the background is beautiful.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)
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:icondeidara-chan88:
deidara-chan88 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009
....WOW!
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:iconlealta:
Lealta Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2008
Oooh, very cool! Your comment adds a lot; it's very interesting to see different sides of these historical figures.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! My comments are always crafted with care... I'm so glad you like them. :)
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:iconlealta:
Lealta Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2008
:)
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:iconcheesecake-alchemist:
cheesecake-alchemist Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2008
This is incredible! I love your art!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:icondarthmalice66:
DarthMalice66 Featured By Owner May 19, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I commend you on your fine piece of art. Speaking as someone who portrays Benedict Arnold, I would like to say that is extremely well done with a very close eye to period accuracy which is rare these days.

Well done!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 19, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much! I really appreciate that you think I'm accurate. I try, although sometimes I think I don't try hard enough. :P

That's so cool you portray Arnold! What reenactment group are you with?
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:icondarthmalice66:
DarthMalice66 Featured By Owner May 28, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am a Sergeant in Captain Issac Craig's Company of Continental Marines out of Vermont. We do reenactments all over New England. We do Fort Ticonderoga every year, we do an event on Hubbardton Battlefield in Vermont, we do events in Manchester Vermont, we do an event on Saratoga National Battlefield.

I've been researching Benedict Arnold for about the past 8 or 9 years at least, and just last year was able to actually put something accurate together. I'll admit it's hard to portray a 38 year old man when you're only 22, lol, but someone has to do it.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
That's so cool! Do you happen to have any pics of yourself as Arnold?
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:icondarthmalice66:
DarthMalice66 Featured By Owner May 31, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
actually yes. I'll put them up on my Devian page. I never thought of that.
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:iconthedauphine:
TheDauphine Featured By Owner May 13, 2008
Amazing work! You did a very lovely job on this! :D
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:iconprofrasah:
ProfRasah Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Oh, and by the way, the artwork looks beautiful. X)
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:iconprofrasah:
ProfRasah Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Actually, the true story of Major Andre is much sadder....He was staying with a Patriot family and the daughter there, who had fallen in love with the Major, had to choose between him or her and her entire family's cause...She chosed Country. That's how he was caught as a spy.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm not quite sure what you mean, and I've read several biographies about Andre. However, I'm glad you like the picture.
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:iconprofrasah:
ProfRasah Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
I might be wrong about who it was, because I haven't heard about it in awhile. But it's a true story.
There's a museum somewhere in New Jersey or New York dedicated to the Patriot family. The town his unit was occupying had known that this was a family with patriotic sympathies, and so they had their headquarters station in the home to keep an eye on them. You know, the Quartering Act.
The daughter discovered papers that would be used to defeat the Americans (like military maps and suppliers) that Andre had put away, and so she took them and became an informat for the other side.
I saw the story being told in a documentary once.
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:iconatenea217:
Atenea217 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
omg.. this is so beautiful.. i love his face watching hers..
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:iconsspirate:
SSPirate Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gorgeous work! The details and colour on Peggy's dress is fantastic! I REALLY love her pouf. Awesome work there! Same goes for John. The uniform is outstanding.
I think a full image would be great, but the way they're poking out of the frame you have is very neat.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! I made a point of showing that Peggy's coiffure was made from her own blond hair, powdered and ratted up and supplemented with hairpieces and lard. It probably took her hairdresser hours to get that thing up. That's why she's so thrilled, and showing it to John. (He actually sketched her a number of times with similar hairdos.)
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:iconsspirate:
SSPirate Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh geez, I'm always amazing at how huge and elaborate those hairdoes could get! I can'timagine the migraines those things would enduce.. but oh my, they are always so beautiful. If I had huge hair like that, I would show it off too! ;)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
They probably tried to make the structure of the hair as light as possible. I can't remember if they used wire or pillows to add the height....? I don't remember. But even the slightest bit of added weight to the cranium would hurt. *winces at the thought of it*
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:iconarinya13:
Arinya13 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008
You have managed to draw my two favourite people from the American Revolution - the glamorous Peggy Shippen and Major John André, the spy for His Majesty, King George.

I really love the idea of these two people together. You have made them look just like I have always imagined them.

They deserve better than the hatchet job they got in Ann Rinaldi's novel, "Finishing Becca." I was so angry when I read the novel. Maybe one day I will have to write my own book about them.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow- so you really read "Finishing Becca," huh? That book sooooo sucked. I didn't know it was available in Denmark. Lucky, lucky you!

If you can get a hold of Lois Duncan's "Peggy," that's worth reading. Another good book is John Ensor Harr's "Dark Eagle," which is about Benedict Arnold, but has a lot in it about Peggy, with an unforgettable scene set during the Meschianza. Unfortunately, Harr portrays Andre as flamingly gay, having a hot n' heavy affair with Clinton. (Or was it Howe?) Man, that sure isn't an image I want to stick in my mind!
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:iconarinya13:
Arinya13 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008
Yeah, I really hated that book! I will look into the books you have mentioned.

Ha,ha! So you don't like the thought of our dear Andre being the lover of General Henry Clinton? He was a very handsome man, though. They both were. I know some historians have talked about the possibility of Major John Andre being gay. I don't know what the truth is but I kind of like both ideas - Peggy/Andre and Clinton/Andre. But I have always been known among my fellow historian students to be somewhat scandalous!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Heh- I realized that Clinton was a hottie when I looked him up on wikipedia. However, I don't remember Andre's boyfriend (whoever he was) in the Harr book being portrayed as handsome- I seem to remember him being portrayed as a typical paunchy British officer in a wig. I can believe that Andre was bi, but Harr depicts him more like a stereotypical latter-day Edward II than the Andre we know and love.

That said, I still liked the book- mainly because it wasn't glorified pro Patriot crap churned out by authors like Rinaldi. ;P
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