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Citizen SpectatorArt, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America$
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Wendy Bellion

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833889

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838907_Bellion

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Imitations and Originals

Imitations and Originals

(p.171) 4 Imitations and Originals
Citizen Spectator

Wendy Bellion

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses writing master Samuel Lewis's unusual donation to the Peale Museum. His donation comprised “Two frames of Cards, Checks and various other papers. One of the frames contain the Originals—the other Imitations, mostly by the Pen, executed by Samuel Lewis and by him presented to the Museum.” The image is a tour de force of trompe l'oeil representation. Generating the illusion of material objects we can touch as well as see, the picture features fourteen papers of varying size, shape, and thickness, each scaled to life and suspended askew against a wall by a pair of intersecting red tapes. Side by side with Lewis's set of “Originals,” the two frames invited a particular sort of perceptual engagement: a close comparison of extraordinarily similar things.

Keywords:   Samuel Lewis, imitations, Peale Museum, illusion, trompe l'oeil representation

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