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A Whistler Vignette on West Point Plates



It was at the time of the Mexican War that the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, first came into its own through the deeds of its young graduates, Lee, Grant and others, who later became famous in the Civil War. The motif of the West Point plates design, therefore, is based upon several motifs used on the Academy diploma which was developed about the period of these students' early bid for fame.

Dominating the plates is the Corps Crest. Balancing it are three cadets in uniforms of 1825, 1848, and 1930. One also finds the arms and equipment of the days of the flintlock, and the ancient paraphernalia of science, taken from the quaint engravings on the diploma. The eagle on the Corps Crest finds its counterpart at the bottom of the design - a mother eagle guarding the fledglings and instructing them in the motto of the corps, "Duty, Honor, Country."

Two especially interesting plates represent Dress Parade in 1831 and Dress Parade in 1930.

The Reverse of each plate bears a vignette of Whistler's "Third Half Hour", done when he was a cadet at the Academy.


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