A Project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art
History of Early American Landscape Design

Anthony St. John Baker

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Anthony St. John Baker (1785-May 16, 1854), was the English diplomat who carried the Treaty of Ghent to the United States at the close of the War of 1812. During his years of official service in Europe and America, he recorded his impressions in written accounts as well as watercolor sketches, ultimately publishing the autobiographical Mémoires d’un voyageur qui se repose (Memoirs of a Traveler Now in Retirement) in 1850.

Educated at Oxford, Baker began his diplomatic career in Europe. [1] He arrived in America in 1811 to serve as British secretary of legation and immediately began writing the detailed accounts of people, places, and events that are now a rich source of historical information about early nineteenth-century America. When the British minister returned to England upon the declaration of war in 1812, Baker stayed on to act as agent for captured British prisoners. [2] He indirectly contributed to the foundation of the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts when, in 1813, he lobbied for the return of a cargo of twenty-one paintings and fifty-two prints — part of the Academy’s foundational collection — which the British navy had seized from an American ship en route from Rome to Philadelphia. [3] Accused variously of spying, smuggling correspondence, and licensing illegal trade between American ship owners and Britain, he left the country in 1813. [4]



Sites

Riversdale, Mount Airy, White House


Terms

Arboretum, Arcade, Avenue, Bowling Green, Conservatory, Deer Park, Fall/Falling Garden, Fence, Ha-Ha/Sunk fence, Lawn, Nursery, Park, Plantation, Square, Statue, Sundial, Terrace/Slope Wall


Images

  1. James B. Childs, "Mémoires D’un Voyageur Qui Se Repose: A Bibliographical Interlude on an Elusive Foreign Service Officer’s Impressions of the United States, 1811-32," The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 64 (1970), 194, view on Zotero; Joseph Foster, Alumni Oxienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886, 4 vols. (London: Joseph Foster, 1887), 1: 50, view on Zotero; "Proceedings of the Numismatic Society. Session 1853-54," The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society, 17 (1854–1855): 15 view on Zotero.
  2. James Stephen Krysiek, "The Diplomatic Career of Sir Charles Bagot. The Early Years: London, Paris, Washington, St. Petersburg (1807-1824)," Ph.D. dissertation, Marquette University, 1988, 182, view on Zotero; Ira Dye, "American Maritime Prisoners of War, 1812-1815," in Ships, Seafaring, and Society: Essays in Maritime History, ed. Timothy J. Runyan (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987), 306, view on Zotero; William H. Masterson, Tories and Democrats: British Diplomats in Pre-Jacksonian America (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1985), 150, 65, view on Zotero; Charles O. Paullin and Frederic L. Paxon, Guide to the Materials in London Archives for the History of the United States since 1783, Papers of the Department of Historical Research (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1914), 35, 37, 39, view on Zotero.
  3. John Henry Merryman and Albert Edward Elsen, Law, Ethics, and the Visual Arts, 4th edn. (Norwell, Mass.: Kluwer Law International, 2002), 11, view on Zotero; E. P. Richardson, "Allen Smith, Collector and Benefactor," American Art Journal, 1 (1969), 11-14, view on Zotero
  4. Allan Seymour Everest, The War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2010), 79 view on Zotero; Masterson, 1985, 176, view on Zotero; Childs, 1970, 197, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/5C346IG6 view on Zotero; George Lockhart Rives, ed., Selections from the Correspondence of Thomas Barclay, Formerly British Consul-General at New York (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1894), 310, [1].

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History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Anthony St. John Baker," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Anthony_St._John_Baker&oldid=5926 (accessed July 1, 2022).

A Project of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts

National Gallery of Art, Washington