Magnet Examination of a Witch

Examination of a Witch, 1853
Tompkins Harrison Matteson (American, 1813-1884)
Oil on canvas, 38 1/2 x 54 inches
Peabody Essex Museum, museum purchase, 1978

Photo by Mark Sexton and Jeffrey R. Dykes
PEM Collection

Tompkins Harrison Matteson’s painting has long been associated with the Salem witch trials, however it actually depicts a prior related event in Boston.  Matteson sets the dramatic scene in a public tavern, the kind of locale where many of the initial examinations conducted in Salem Village and Salem took place. The details he renders are reminiscent of the 17th-century interiors in Dutch genre paintings. He captures the climactic moment when a female examiner points out a witch’s mark on Mary Fisher’s body. 



Single magnet measuring 3.5 x 2.5 inches

Artwork information on back

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