James Queen. “Buildings of the Great Central Fair, in Aid of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.”
Philadelphia: P.S. Duval & Son., 1864. 12 3/8 x 26 1/4. Chromolithograph by J. Queen. Title printed very light, as found on most examples. Very good condition. Déak: 789; Prints of Philadelphia: 199; Wainwright: 35.
James Queen, a native Philadelphian, was apprenticed as a lithographer to the firm of Lehman & Duval in 1835, when he was just fifteen. Queen soon became an accomplished lithographic artist, establishing himself as Duval’s principal draftsman. He drew views, disasters, portraits, music covers, advertisements, certificates, illustrations and any other subject Duval needed. During the Civil War, when artists were in short supply, Duval wrote to a friend: “James Queen is still with us and is now one of the best artists in the country.”
In June 1864, Philadelphia mounted the Great Central Fair to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which worked towards the relief of wounded and sick Union troops. Contributions for the fair were raised and temporary buildings were erected on Logan Square. This print depicts the fair buildings from the northwest, with the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul shown prominently on the far side. Also shown is to the far right is the Wills Eye Hospital. Two large rotundas are portrayed flanking the main exhibit hall, a vaulted gallery designed by Strickland Kneass that extended from Eighteenth to Logan (Nineteenth) Street. The fair lasted only three weeks, but it drew great crowds, especially during President Lincoln’s visit on June 16th. The fair was a great success, raising over a million dollars for the cause. According to the Memorial of the Great Central Fair . . .
by Charles J. Stillé (Philadelphia: U.S. Sanity Commission, 1864) these prints of the fair were printed in nine colors at the Fair and sold for a nominal price. Only a few images of Logan Square were issued with this print being the one most easily to be obtained.
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