Views of Philadelphia
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William Russell Birch. From The City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania North America. Philadelphia, 1798-1860. All ca. 11 x 13 3/8, except as noted. Engravings. Except as noted, some margins beyond platemark, and in very good condition.
When issued in 1800, William Birch's prints of Philadelphia collectively formed the first series of views of any American city, and as such they are of great historical importance. The superior quality of the work is evidenced in the scope of its conception, the artistic excellence of the prints and their fine execution. The prints provide a unique visual record of Philadelphia at a time when it was the most important and cosmopolitan city in the Western Hemisphere, and for a time was the capital of the newly formed United States. Each print illustrates a scene, focusing on the sophistication of the inhabitants and the stateliness of the homes and public buildings.
The project of producing this series was carried out entirely in Philadelphia, and while many other individuals were involved, including Birch's son Thomas who provided many of the original drawings, the prints were the work of William Birch himself. He not only conceived and planned the project, but he also drew many of the scenes and did much of the engraving and publishing.
- "High Street Market." Hand color. [Margins trimmed to plate mark; repaired tear just touching image bottom left hand corner. Otherwise, very good condition.] $2,800
- "High Street, with the First Presbyterian Church." Full hand color. [Margin top and sides trimmed to platemark; faint mat burn right and left sides.] $3,000
- "The Water Works, in Centre Square Philadelphia." Full hand color. $3,600
- "View in Third Street, from Spruce Street, Philadelphia." Faint hand color. [Two repaired tears in margins and some minor staining in margins and image.] $2,400
- "An Unfinished House in Chestnut Street." Full hand color. $3,000
- [Alms House in Spruce Street Philadelphia]. Uncolored. [Margins trimmed to image. Overall, image is fine and strong.] $1,200
- "State House Garden, Philadelphia." Uncolored. [Stains from old glue into plate mark and expertly repaired tear just into plate mark, neither affecting image. Professionally conserved.] $2,200
- "Bank of Pennsylvania, South Second Street Philadelphia." Uncolored. [Narrow margins. Paper somewhat time-toned.] $3,800
- "High Street, from Ninth Street. Philadelphia." Full hand color. $3,200
- "State House Garden. Philadelphia." (New to 2nd Edition). Uncolored. [Margins trimmed to plate marks]. $2,400
- "Back of the State House, Philadelphia." Full hand color. $3,200
- "Jail in Walnut Street Philadelphia." [1st and only appearance in this edition.] Hand color. $2,400
- "Library and Surgeons Hall, in Fifth Street Philadelphia." Full hand color. $3,800
- "Bank of Pennsylvania, South Second Street Philadelphia." Second (1804) or Third Edition, 1809. Full hand color. $3,400
- "The Theatre in Chesnut[sic]-street Philadelphia." Full hand color. $2,800
- "The Water Works, in Centre Square Philadelphia. Taken down in 1827." Full hand color. Margins trimmed to just outside plate marks. Faint mat burn inside plate marks. Expertly repaired tear at top into image. $3,000
- "High Street, with the First Presbyterian Church. Taken down 1820. Philadelphia." Full hand color. [Filled chip in bottom left margin, not affecting image.] $1,800
- "Girard's Bank, late the Bank of the United States, in Third Street Philadelphia." Modern hand color. $2,000
- "The New Theatre in Chesnut [sic] Street Philadelphia." Uncolored. $800
- "The late Theatre in Chesnut [sic] Street Philadelphia. Destroy'd by Fire in 1820." Uncolored. $2,400
- "Back of the State House, Philadelphia." Full hand color. [Some scattered staining in margins.] $1,200
- "Philadelphia Bank in Fourth Street Philadelphia. Built 1809. Taken Down 1837." Full hand color. $350
None currently available.
Birch's Views of Philadelphia. Two Hundredth Anniversary Edition.
S. Robert Teitelman. Philadelphia, 2000. Cloth.
A reduced facsimile of William Russell Birch's The City of Philadelphia…as it appeared in the Year 1800. The twenty-seven engravings are reproduced in full color, with accompanying photographs of the sites as they appeared in 1960 and in 2000. $45.00
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated November 21, 2013