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Cephas G. Childs' Views of Philadelphia

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Prints from Cephas G. Childs' Views of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: C.G. Childs, 1827-1830. Octavo. Each approximately 3 1/4 x 5 1/2". Copper engravings. Some with minor marginal tears. Overall fine condition, except as noted.

Christ Church Almost three decades after the publication of the first edition of William Birch's City of Philadelphia, Cephas Childs published the second comprehensive series of prints of the city, entitled Views of Philadelphia. Childs, a native of Bucks County, was one of the most prominent American printmakers of his day. He was an expert engraver and publisher, and he later went on to run an important early lithographic firm. Despite his energy, skill and popularity, Childs never made much money from prints, and so in 1834 he abandoned the business to become a newspaper publisher. The Views of Philadelphia was Child's most important early publication, containing twenty six prints, most engraved by Childs. The work was originally issued in six fascicles of four prints each, running from 1827 to 1830. The series contained views of major sites in the city, each rendered by a prominent American artist or architect, including Thomas Doughty, George and William Strickland, Thomas Sully, John Haviland, Thomas Birch and George Lehman. Many new buildings had been erected in the years since the turn of the century, and Childs' detailed prints provide a precious view of many of these. The detail and composition of the engravings is excellent, and they provide an fascinating overall view of the city with its new look. See: Snyder, Mirror of America, pp. 70-77.


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