1973 Mural

Most Contemporary Depiction of Massacre

This image was created by Horace Washington and Caleb Williams.

In this mural the background shows the Boston Customs House and Boston Harbor. This is one of the few illustrations of the Boston Massacre where the viewer can clearly see that the historic event took place at some point during winter because of the mounds of snow on the ground and the buildings. Similar to other art of the Massacre, there is a sharp distinction between the two parties involved. There is more space than usual separating the colonists and the British soldiers in this particular portrayal.

On the left, is an angry cluster of Patriots. The colonists can be identified by their apparel, which is very different compared to the famous “red coats” of the soldiers. Everyone in the mob has a stern expression on their face. Something to take notice of in this mural that is in contrast with other art depicting the Massacre, is the fact that all of the colonists are threatening in some way. Most are carrying clubs, and the rest have snowballs in their hands, ready to throw.

On the other side, the British are standing in a very orderly line as very commonly shown. They are all wearing the same exact uniform, and they all have their muskets and bayonets up and ready to use. We assume that Captain Thomas Preston is represented in this work of art as well, by the man in the middle who has his hat on the ground and is not standing straight. However, he is not standing in the typical spot, giving orders to fire, behind the British soldiers. Something else to note in this mural is that the viewer cannot see the expressions of those in the British army because they are facing forward with their backs turned.