Important c. 1734 mezzotint portrait of Jonathan Belcher, the Colonial Governor of Massachusetts and founder of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University; engraving by John Faber the Younger (British, 1684-1756) after the now-lost painting by Richard Phillips. Over the subject's left shoulder is a view of Beacon Hill and its environs, derived from a circa 1723 engraving by William Burgis. Belcher is depicted standing in curly white wig and formal coat, holding his commission, with the royal seal (lower right) and the Belcher family arms (center, lower margin). Old Bowling Green, KY framer's business card taped to back of frame. Housed under glass in an ebonized frame with gilt rabbet edge. Sheet – 9 3/4" H x 13 7/8" W. Framed – 16" H x 12 1/2" W. Note: Jonathan Belcher (1682-1757) was a third-generation descendant of an early settler of the Massachusetts colony (Andrew Belcher). He became a prosperous merchant and was colonial governor of the British colonies of Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1730-1741, and of New Jersey from 1746 until 1757, the year of his death. According to the Princeton University website, Belcher, "alienated by religious developments at his alma mater, Harvard, sympathized with the fledgling college in New Jersey. On September 14, 1748, Belcher granted a second charter, which expanded the trustees from 12 to 23, stipulating that the governor would chair the Board of Trustees and that four seats would be reserved for members of the New Jersey Council. He also added three leading Philadelphians, placating a group that had felt excluded. These appointments, by not specifying religious affiliation, made Princeton the first American college whose trustees were drawn from more than one denomination. On November 9, 1748, at the College's first Commencement, the trustees conferred on Belcher Princeton's first honorary degree. Belcher encouraged the trustees to raise funds for a college building and played a central role in its location. While Newark, Elizabeth and New Brunswick were initial favorites, Belcher threw his influence behind Princeton — 'as near the center of the Province as any and a fine situation.' Just before the College moved to Princeton, Belcher donated his 474-volume library, a full-length portrait of himself, his carved and gilded coat-of-arms, a pair of terrestrial globes, and portraits of 10 kings and queens of England. In gratitude, the trustees asked his permission to name the new building in his honor. Instead, the governor persuaded them to name it Nassau Hall, "for the glorious King William the Third of the illustrious House of Nassau," who was highly regarded by dissenters as a champion of religious freedom and political liberty. Although only six of Belcher's books have survived, he is still honored as the library's oldest benefactor. When Firestone Library was built in 1948, his coat of arms was carved in stone over the main entrance along with those of the University. Belcher's full-length portrait and the paintings of the 10 English monarchs were destroyed during the Revolution." (Source: https://princetoniana.princeton.edu/history/early-years/belcher). CONDITION: Even, overall toning. Margins trimmed to plate edge. Print has been fully adhered to a sheet of toned paper, which has been adhered to a mat board. Four small tears, up to 1" L, at lower edge of print (one extends to paper backing). Fine tear or deep crease/scratch upper left extending 2" from top edge of print. A few other small creases or fine tears extending from top edge. Scattered light abrasions and creases. Glass and frame appear to have some age but are likely not original; the print appears to have been re-framed in the 1970s. Scattered abrasions to the frame.
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