Views of cities have long been popular, with perspective and bird's eye views issued of European urban centers as early as the fifteenth century. Among the earliest prints of the New World were urban views and as American communities were established in what is today the United States, prints of them were published both in Europe and America. By the nineteenth century, such views were in great demand and were issued of cities, big and small, across the country. These prints showed both general views of the cities and also views of specific buildings. Before 1800, many of the urban views were sold to people who had never visited the location depicted, so many were inaccurate, but as the nineteenth century progressed, most of the American urban views were sold to local citizens, putting a premium on accuracy. Thus it is, that many American views provide us with remarkably detailed and accurate images of our urban centers from over a century ago.
John Ogilby. "De Stadt St. Martin." London: J. Ogilby, 1671. 11 x 14 (neat lines) plus margins. Engraving on laid paper Hand colored. Very good condition.
An early image of the island of Saint Martin in the West Indies. This thirty eight square mile colony shared by France and Holland produced sugar at the time of this picture. Action in this print shows a Dutch fleet attacking the Spanish fort.
This print was issued in John Ogilby's America in 1671. Ogilby (1600-1676), one of the more colorful figures associated with cartography, started life as a dancing master and finished as the King's Cosmographer and Geographic Printer. In the course of an eventful life he built a theater in Dublin, became the Deputy Master of Revels in Ireland, translated various Greek and Latin works and built a book publishing business. In the process he twice lost all he possessed, first in a shipwreck during the Civil Wars and then in the Great Fire of London. Even this disaster he turned to advantage by being appointed to a Commission of Survey following the fire. He turned to printing again and in a few short years organized a survey of all the main post roads in the country and published the first practical road atlas. In 1671, Ogilby issued his volume on America, which included many maps and views of North and South America, including this striking engraving. $375
Carington Bowles after George Heap. "An East Perspective View of the City of Philadelphia, in the Province of Pensylvania, in North America, taken from the Jersey Shore." London: Bowles, -ca. 1790. 9 1/2 x 16 1/4. Engraving. Original gouache hand coloring. Deak: 101; Snyder, state between first 100 and 100A. The date "1 Jany 1778" and the singular reference "at his Map & Print Warehouse" remain, but the number "38" to the left of the title is removed. Age browning and a few stains. Old scrapes have rubbed areas of the sky in upper right quadrant. Cut close on top margin, sides and bottom are complete but as usual not expansive. A fine example with antique tones. Framed to archival standards.
This is considered the finest and most decorative of the reissues of Heap's "East Prospect" of Philadelphia, and this ambitious and delicate eighteenth-century print is one of the most desirable early profiles of the city. In 1752, in response to an expressed desire by Thomas Penn to have a perspective view of Philadelphia from the east, George Heap, the author of the view of the State House contained in the Scull and Heap map, made a drawing of the Philadelphia waterfront from the New Jersey shore. This drawing was acquired by Penn, who subsequently had two engravings made from it, a large one in 1754 and a smaller version in 1756, the latter with the addition of views of the State House and the Battery and a city plan. Five years later, a copy of the smaller version was published in the London Magazine, with the two views inserted in the upper corners. Heap's was the first view published of Philadelphia, and it shows the city as a bustling river port of some importance and sophistication. A mile of the Philadelphia waterfront, from present-day South Street to Vine Street, is depicted in considerable detail. It shows the major buildings, a number with stately steeples, standing along streets already giving evidence of Philadelphia's impressively organized grid plan. In the foreground lies Windmill Island, and the river is congested with vessels of all types.
The creator of this print was London print maker, Carington Bowles, who was able to acquire the large, unwieldy original drawing made by George Heap in 1752, directly from which he made the engraving. Bowles described this print in a 1790 sales catalogue as one of a collection of 271 prints "designed to be used in the Diagnal Mirror, an Optical Pillar machine, or peep show." This was one of the vue d'optique or perspective views showing the cities of the world, prints that were very popular in the late eighteenth century. These prints were produced for a viewing machine that was used both in private and by peddlers in the streets of Europe. The hand color, necessitated by the optical show, is also noteworthy, the tones being more vivid and brilliant than on other, similar views of the period. The intended use of the print necessitated a standard size, and thus Bowles faced some space limitations in rendering the scene. $14,000
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Views from Cincinnati in 1841. Cincinnati: Charles Cist, 1841. Engravings by Doolittle & Munson. Ca. 3 1/2 x 5 1/4. Very good condition.
Charles Cist's Cincinnati in 1841. Its Early Annals and Future Prospects was an important early account of the Queen City of the mid-west at a time when it was growing rapidly. Included in it are some early engravings showing buildings of note.
This is a view of San Francisco in 1849, based on an original drawing made "on the spot" by Henry Firks. The view shows the city at the dawn of the Gold Rush from a vantage at Rincon Point towards Telegraph Hill. The city consisted then mostly of a cluster of wooden buildings by the harbor, though a number of tents scattered about show that the city couldn't house all the 49ers passing who arrived on the large line of ships shown anchored off shore. A number of larger warehouses and stores have the name of the company printed on the side, and California and Montgomery Streets are labeled. The image is visually stunning, but much of its interest comes from the sixty-two sites, buildings and ships identified in a key at the bottom. One of these (#10) is the Schooner Philadelphia, depicted in flames, as it burned in the harbor on June 24th, 1849. This view was first published by W.H. Jones in 1849, with the lithograph done by T. Sinclair of Philadelphia. It went through a number of editions in the nineteenth century, each issue with an increased number of references, beginning from an initial 45 to this print's sixty-two. A legend at the bottom explains that this "Latest edition corrected by a Committee of Pioneers, consisting of Richard M. Sherman - William Heath Davis - Ferdinand Vassault." The view seems to have remained popular throughout the century and this print states it was "for sale by all principal art & book stores." $1,800
J.W. Hill. "New Orleans From the Lower Cotton Press. 1852." From The Ladies' Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted To Literature and Religion. Cincinnati: March, 1854. Octavo. Steel engraving by W. Wellstood. Very good condition.
An unusual and scarce steel engraving from The Ladies' Repository. This mid-nineteenth century periodical was produced in Cincinnati by members of the Methodist Church. It was a magazine "Devoted To Literature and Religion," containing articles, poetry, fiction, and notes of interest to its readers. One of its most interesting aspects was the inclusion of steel engravings. Many had a religious or "genre" theme, but others were topographical views of different parts of the United States. This magazine had a limited circulation and so these prints are quite a bit more scarce than most steel engravings of the period. Some of the views are based on images by W.H. Bartlett, but others are taken either from some of the large folio views of the period or are drawn first hand for The Ladies' Repository. Whatever their source, these are among the most interesting and hard-to-find American views of the middle of last century. This view is a fine example from the magazine, based on a large view issued by the Smith Brothers of New York City. $150
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C.C. Kuchel. "View of San Francisco. 1857." [Taken from a high point on the south side]. New York: Henry Bill, 1857. Copyrighted in Connecticut. Second state due to date. From The History of the World. 8 x 16 (image) plus generous margins. Tinted lithograph originally by P.S. Duval. Folded as issued. Very good condition.
A wonderful panoramic view of San Francisco near the beginning of the Gold Rush, "Published by the Author of 'Sights in the Gold Region &c.'" This first-hand print was drawn by C.C. Kuchel (1820-ca. 1865). Kuchel was born in Switzerland and emigrated to America in the 1840s. He moved to San Francisco about the time he drew this image, later forming a lithography firm with Emil Dresel. The scene shows Yerba Buena harbor from Rincon Point, looking towards Telegraph Hill. The town is spread out mostly in the valley, and the harbor is shown bustling with ships -- mostly involved in the traffic related to the Gold Rush which started just the year before this print was originally issued in 1850 in Henry Bill's History of the World. $900
James Queen after ambrotypes by H.P. Osborn. "Allentown, Pa." Ca. 1855. Tinted lithograph with hand color, by P.S. Duval & Son. 5 3/4 x 14 3/4. With old folds. Some wear along folds, but otherwise, very good condition. Framed.
A very rare, separately issued print of Allentown, "Situated on the Lehigh River at the junction of the East Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley Rail Roads." Allentown was laid out in 1762 by William Allen, chief justice of Pennsylvania, and was first known as Northampton. It was renamed Allentown in 1838 and is the seat of Lehigh County. The print was drawn by Philadelphia artist James Fuller Queen based on an ambrotypes by H.P. Osborn. The prosperous city is shown from a field with cows and a horse grazing in the foreground. A railroad bridge is shown at right. $675
F.N. Otis. "San Francisco (From Rincon Point)." From The Ladies' Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted To Literature and Religion. Cincinnati: February 1857. 4 3/4 x 8. Steel engraving by W. Wellstood. Very good condition.
An unusual and scarce steel engraving from The Ladies' Repository. This mid-nineteenth century periodical was produced in Cincinnati by members of the Methodist Church. It was a magazine "Devoted To Literature and Religion," containing articles, poetry, fiction, and notes of interest to its readers. One of its most interesting aspects was the inclusion of steel engravings. Many had a religious or "genre" theme, but others were topographical views of different parts of the United States. This magazine had a limited circulation and so these prints are quite a bit more scarce than most steel engravings of the period. Some of the views are based on images by W.H. Bartlett, but others are taken either from some of the large folio views of the period or are drawn first hand for The Ladies' Repository. Whatever their source, these are among the most interesting and hard-to-find American views of the middle of last century. $165
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A pair of lovely views of East Rock and West Rock in New Haven. The scenes were drawn by the great New England painter, George H. Durrie, best known for his work with Currier & Ives. The landscapes show impressive, accurate detail, but still exhibit the charm for which Durrie is famous, each containing vignettes of daily life in New England. $2,600
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"Illinois Central Round House." From Chicago Illustrated. Chicago: Jevne & Almini, 1866. With literary descriptions by James W. Sheahan. Tinted lithograph by the Chicago Lithographing Company. Ca. 8 1/4 x 12. Overall very good condition.
Beginning on the evening of October 8, 1871, Chicago suffered a devastating fire, after which about 300 citizens were dead, nearly 100,000 were homeless, and the city had suffered property loss of around $200 million. Its geographic position and the survival of the transportation network meant that Chicago was soon rebuilt, but much of the pre-fire city was lost forever. Luckily, just five years before, an enterprising group of men had produced an unparalleled portrait of pre-fire Chicago. In the period after the Civil War, there was a spirit of civic boosterism in Chicago and this inspired Otto Jevne and Peter M. Almini to embark on the publication of an elaborate work to illustrate the scenes and buildings of the city. In 1865, Jevne and Almini joined with three lithographers, Louis Kurz, Otto Knirsch, and Edward Carqueville to form the Chicago Lithographing Co.. Kurz, later to form the famous Kurz & Allison firm, drew and lithographed the prints for the ambitious Jevne and Almini portfolio, entitled Chicago Illustrated. The portfolio was to consist of twenty-five part, each of which was to contain at least four tinted lithographs, accompanied by text description, and when completed it was to be accompanied by a "General View of the City." The parts were issued, at $1.50 per fascicle, between January, 1866, and January, 1867, when the project abruptly stopped. The views showed street scenes, transportation sites, and major buildings throughout the city. Only fifty-two images were completed, but they provide a fascinating documentation of pre-fire Chicago. These rare views are among the most desirable nineteenth century images of any American city. The Illinois Central Railroad entered Chicago from the South, running along the Lake Michigan shoreline and ending in a round house located South of the mouth of the Chicago River. This scene shows the round house from the South, looking along the weir constructed to help preserve the beach. The warehouses and elevators along the river can be seen in the distance and a Ferris wheel is depicted on the horizon. $825
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A. Ruger. "Toledo Ohio 1876." Madison: J.J. Stoner, 1876. 12 x 25 3/4. Lithograph by Chas. Shober & Co, Chicago Lithograph Co. Full margins. Very faint old stainds. Very good condition. Reps: 3152.
A fine example of the American bird's eye view of the nineteenth century. Beginning after the Civil War, the bird's eye view became one of the most popular of print genre. This was a period of significant urban growth throughout the country, and the civic pride which proliferated provided a fertile field for print publishers to market these visual vistas of American cities and towns. According to John Rep's seminal Views and Viewmakers of Urban America (Columbia, 1984), publishers sent their artists out into the field throughout all parts of the country to draw and market the views. The artist would walk the streets of the town or city, drawing all the buildings and encouraging the citizens to subscribe to the view that would be produced. Once the entire area was sketched and enough subscriptions obtained, the artist would use a standard projection to turn his street-level images into a bird's eye view of the town. Because these views were primarily sold to citizens of the place depicted, they had to be accurate and all buildings shown, lest an owner were to be insulted. Thus these views are not only highly decorative, but are also detailed and accurate pictures of each place shown, providing us with a wonderful documentation of nineteenth century urban America. This view shows Toledo stretched along the Maumee River, crossed by a railroad bridge and a bridge for carriage and pedestrian traffic. Factories, warehouses and shops line the river, which is filled with ships of all sorts, including rowers in shells. $1,850
O.H. Bailey. "View of the City of New Bedford, Mass." New Bedford, Mass: Leonard B. Ellis, Fine Art Rooms, 36 & 40 Williams St., 1876. 22 x 33 1/4 (image) plus margins. Lithograph by C. H. Vogt, Milwaukee. Printed in three colors by J. Knauber. Image is complete with some discoloring and a few bends. Margins are complete but the extremities are browned and have some chips. Reps: 1555.
A good example of the American bird's eye view of the nineteenth century. Beginning after the Civil War, the bird's eye view became one of the most popular of print genre. This was a period of significant urban growth throughout the country, and the civic pride which proliferated provided a fertile field for print publishers to market these visual vistas of American cities and towns. According to John Reps' seminal Views and Viewmakers of Urban America (Columbia, 1984), publishers sent their artists out into the field throughout all parts of the country to draw and market the views. The artist would walk the streets of the town or city, drawing all the buildings and encouraging the citizens to subscribe to the view that would be produced. Once the entire area was sketched and enough subscriptions obtained, the artist would use a standard projection to turn his street-level images into a bird's eye view of the town. Because these views were primarily sold to citizens of the place depicted, they had to be accurate and all buildings shown, lest an owner were to be insulted. Thus these views are not only highly decorative, but are also detailed and accurate pictures of each place shown, providing us with a wonderful documentation of nineteenth century urban America.
This print shows New Bedford from the east in the Centennial year. No indication of the whaling industry survives as coal provided fuel and textile and hardware manufacturing are listed among the buildings. Six vignettes and 76 locales are listed to provide a verbal as well as pictorial record of the town. A fine and unusually large example of this genre print. $1,800
"Exeter, N[ew] H[ampshire]. County Seat – Rockingham County. 1884." Brockton, Massachusetts: Norris & Wellge, 1884. Lithography in colors. 13 3/4 x 20 (image) plus full margins. Slight browning. Reps, 2218. Overall very good.
A fine example of the American urban view of the nineteenth century. Beginning after the Civil War, city views became one of the most popular of print genres. This was a period of significant urban growth throughout the country, and the civic pride which proliferated provided a fertile field for print publishers to market these visual vistas of American cities, towns, and even resort areas. According to John Reps' seminal Views and Viewmakers of Urban America (Columbia, 1984), publishers sent their artists out into the field throughout all parts of the country to draw and market the views. This one is signed "H[enry]. Wellge." The artist would walk the streets of the town or city, drawing all the buildings and encouraging the citizens to subscribe to the view that would be produced. Here is a wonderful example of the genre, showing the city of Exeter. One of the ways publishers were able to raise funds was by selling to local residents, churches and businesses the opportunity of having their buildings depicted in these views. Wellge here successful in this, for the view is filled with many recognizable structures. $800
"World's Columbian Exposition 1893, Chicago, Ill., USA. From the Official Plans- Area 664 Acres." Chicago: Kurz & Allison, 1893. 21 3/4 x 35 3/4. Lithograph. Three inch tear into image from top expertly repaired. A few small holes in margins, not affecting image, professionally conserved. Else, very good condition.
The Chicago firm of Kurz & Allison is well remembered for its production of commemorative prints using the latest technological advances. Founded in 1885, their avowed purpose was to design "for large scale establishments of all kinds, and in originating and placing on the market artistic and fancy prints of the most elaborate workmanship." Elaborate they certainly were, and they well represented the artistic taste of their period. Many of the prints from the firm were of the Civil War, but they included other important scenes of American history, some portraits, and a few views, such as this image of the Exposition grounds on the shore of Lake Michigan. The fair was organized to celebrate Christopher Columbus' discovery of America 400 years earlier. In addition, it also served to show that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Fire that destroyed much of the city twenty-three years earlier. $1,500
Augustus Koch. "A Bird's Eye View of Aspen Colorado, Pitkin County. 1893. Published by the Aspen Times." Aspen, CO: Aspen Time, 1893. 27 1/4 x 38 1/8. Four stone lithograph. Printed by Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Company, Kansas City. With key to 83 sites. Trimmed to top and sides (just into image) and with some old tears; dry-mounted. With some old stains in top left. Good appearance and a stable print. Reps: 457. Denver.
An attractive example of the only 19th-century bird's-eye view of Aspen, one of perhaps only twenty or so extant copies. Colorado got its start with the Pike's Peak gold rush of 1858-59, but it was the silver boom which really established the economic fortune of the state. Silver was discovered in Leadville in 1878, and the search for more silver led prospectors to set up a camp they called Ute City, renamed Aspen the following year. Within a decade Aspen had boomed so that it had about 12,000 residents, six newspapers, many fine private homes, hotels, taverns, schools, churches, and a theater and opera house. This boom ended very shortly thereafter, with the Panic of 1893, sending the value of silver plummeting and all but destroying the silver industry in Colorado. In Aspen, as elsewhere in Colorado, mines shut down and many other businesses soon followed. The size and wealth of Aspen diminished significantly and it became a quiet backwater until the last century when winter sports again made it one of the most prosperous towns in the state.
In 1893, Augustus Koch produced this magnificent view showing Aspen at the height of its silver prosperity. The Aspen Times sponsored the print, selling the prints for $1 each beginning in June 1893. Almost as soon as the ink was dry, the market for silver collapsed and all those prosperous, interested buyers were no longer so prosperous nor as interested. Thus it seems that very few of these prints were sold at the time. This print contains a very detailed and clear depiction of Aspen from the southwest. Prints like this had to be accurate, in order to sell to the local population, so this print provides a remarkable look at Aspen in its boom years. Each house, public building, school, tunnel, hotel, railroad depot, factory and mine is precisely located and illustrated, with 83 of the sites identified with a key in the bottom margin. This print went through a number of versions, of which this is the most advanced. $15,000
"Cripple Creek. 1896." Phillips & Desjardins, 1896. 27 x 36 1/2. Chromolithograph by Western Litho. Company. Excellent condition. Framed. Reps: 478. Denver.
A spectacular bird's-eye-view of the Colorado mining towns of Cripple Creek and its sister town, Victor. This was the site of the last major Colorado gold rush, when in October 1890, a local rancher, Bob Womack, discovered a rich vein of ore. Thousands of hopeful prospectors flooded the area, including W.S. Stratton who discovered the Independence lode, one of the largest gold discoveries ever. The population boomed from a pre-rush population of under 500 to about 10,000 by 1893 and 19,000 at the time this print was produced.
On April 25th, 1896, Cripple Creek suffered a major fire and then just four days later a second fire, in which the entire business district and a total of 27 blocks, was destroyed. There was money aplenty available, however, so within a short time the city was built from brick, as this print, produced that same year, clearly demonstrates. This is a wonderful example of the pride of the inhabitants, who enthusiasm for the community and desire to boost its prospects inspired the publication of this print.
This image shows not just Cripple Creek, laid out in the rolling foothills below Pikes Peak, but the nearby town of Victor and twenty over vignette images showing local mines, including Stratton's Independence mine. A short description of Cripple Creek and Victor is included in the lower left corner and a listing of the production of the area mines in the lower left. $5,200
Anton Schutz. "Cleveland Public Square." 1927. 11 3/4 x 9. Signed in pencil. Very good condition.
Anton Joseph Friedrich Schutz, was born in Berndorf, Austria in 1894 and died in 1977. He came to the United States in the 1920s and became a documentary print maker depicting American cities, especially New York and vicinity, in his time. He toured Europe billed as an "American artist." His etchings can be found at the Metropolitan Museum; the Chicago Museum; Washington D.C.; National Library, in Paris; and the British Museum. He was the founder and director of the New York Graphic Society and was the author of a book published in 1939 titled New York Etchings. $450
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