Penn’s First Sight of the Shores of Pennsylvania as He Ascends the River

The Tercentenary Issue is a special edition of 8 features commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania, published March 1981.

On the Back Cover

Penn’s First Sight of the Shores of Pennsylvania as He Ascends the River
A Mural Painting by Violet Oakley Commissioned in 1902

This mural painting, done by Violet Oakley, depicts William Penn on board the Welcome as it sails up the Delaware Bay. Gazing on the land named for his father, Penn is meant to be “speaking” the lines quoted above him in the scroll. Oakley no doubt wished to portray the Founder as a man with firm religious convictions and hopes for the new land which was to be, for him, “an Holy Experiment.” This panel is one of a series of mural paintings commissioned in 1902 to decorate the Supreme Court Room, the Senate Chamber and the Governor’s Reception Room, where this mural resides, at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

Born in 1874, Violet Oakley studied art in Philadelphia, New York and throughout Europe. Though a native of New Jersey, Oakley spent most of her eighty-six years in “The City of Brotherly Love” and in 1950 was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania for her many contributions and accomplishments. Muralist, portrait painter, author and public speaker, Oakley was a religious woman whose strong faith expressed itself in her art, as witnessed by the title of the mural series of which this panel is a part – “The Founding of the State of Liberty Spiritual.”