A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


Henry Pelham

14 February 1749 - 1806

Henry Pelham was born to Peter Pelham and Mary Singleton Copley Pelham in Boston. He attended Boston Latin School and most likely studied painting and drawing with his half-brother, John Singleton Copley. Pelham was known for his miniatures, but perhaps his most well known work is his engraving of the Boston Massacre. By the time Pelham's print of the event was ready for distribution, however, Paul Revere had already copied and marketed his own version to Bostonians. Pelham was a loyalist, and in 1776 he fled Boston for London where he supported himself by teaching drawing, perspective, geography and astronomy. In 1789, he was named agent for Lord Lansdowne?s Irish estates, where he worked as a civil engineer and cartographer. In 1806, he drowned in the River Kenmare while overseeing from a boat the erection of a martello tower.