A lovely view of Passaic Falls from a very rare group of prints from a foundation work in the history of American views, the first systematic attempt to record the country's landscape. The series combines the work of some of the most talented Americans in the early nineteenth century, including the artist Joshua Shaw (ca. 1777-1860). Shaw was born and trained in England, where he became a landscape artist, exhibiting at the Royal Academy. With a recommendation of his work from Benjamin West, Shaw emigrated to Philadelphia in 1817. He was enthralled by his new country, and as a result conceived the grand scheme of producing a folio of prints based on "correct delineations of some of the most prominent beauties of notable scenery." He planned to travel throughout the United States to make his drawings, and to issue the prints by subscription in six sets of six views each. The aquatinting of the prints was done by John Hill (1770-1850), who was another Englishman who had just settled in Philadelphia. This was Hill's first major American commission, and the next year he moved to New York City where he further enhanced his reputation as the premier aquatinter in the country. The publisher of the series, Mathew Carey & Son, was no less illustrious than the others. Mathew Carey was perhaps the dominate American publisher of the first two decades of the nineteenth century, and the successor firms of Carey & Son, and then Carey & Lea continued to play an important part in the history of American maps, books and prints. This series is seminal in the history of American prints, the first time anyone tried to produce an overall artistic documentation of American scenery. This rare image is perhaps the finest view of this scenic spot in New Jersey. $1,800
Thomas Birch. "View of the Water Gap and Columbia Glassworks River Delaware." Philadelphia, ca. 1820. 12 5/8 x 19 1/8. Aquatint by William Strickland. Hand watercolor. Strong impression. Framed.
A lovely early engraving by two of America's most prominent craftsmen of the first part of the nineteenth century. Thomas Birch is well remembered both for his work with his father on the series of views of Philadelphia and independently, for his achievements as a painter and engraver. William Strickland has been immortalized in a group of impressive architectural monuments that he designed, which helped define the character of early 19th-century Philadelphia. Although best known as an architect, to supplement his income, Strickland also worked as a painter and engraver. The success of his collaboration with Birch is evident here. $950
Prints from John H. Hinton's The History and Topography of the United States of America. Various dates. Steel engravings. Very good condition, except as noted.
Steel engraved views of New Jersey from one of the more popular nineteenth century view books, Hinton's History and Topography. This work contained text and numerous illustrations documenting the history and topography of the United States. Hinton used many different artists, all the engravings being made from drawings made on the spot. For their wide coverage, accurate detail, and pleasing appearance, these are amongst the finest small images of early nineteenth century America.
A print that may have been issued in The New York Mirror in 1838. The imprint to this effect, if it was on this print, has been trimmed off. The print, though, is from the same plate and it is an unusual and very attractive image looking up the Hudson along the base of the Palisades. This is an early steel engraving and demonstrates the quality that these prints became famous for. $125
[The Palisades.] From The Family Magazine. Cincinnati, ca. 1838. Wood engraving. 5 3/8 x 8 3/8. Very good condition.
The Family Magzine was subtitled as the "Monthly Abstract of General Knowledge." This wide ranging magazine included hundreds of wood engravings, many of them American scenes such as this lovely image. $45
William H. Bartlett. "View of the Passaic Falls." From N. P. Willis's American Scenery. London: George Virtue, [1839-1840]. 4 7/8 x 7 3/8. Steel engraving. Very good condition.
William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854) was a British landscape artist famous for his views of all parts of the world. He made several trips to the United States in order to gather sketches for a book about American scenery to be written by N.P. Willis and published by George Virtue. This work, American Scenery, discussed the natural wonders, architectural monuments and city landmarks of America, and the text was accompanied by a charming collection of views of these sites drawn by Bartlett. This was one of the most successful and popular series of such views of the nineteenth century. Of all images of America's past, these remain among the most popular. $60
James Smillie. "Monmouth Battle Grounds, N.J." From Graham's Magazine. Philadelphia, ca. 1845. 4 3/4 x 7 1/4. Engraving by Smillie and Hinshelwood. Very good condition.
Many of the popular magazines of the mid-nineteenth century were copiously illustrated with steel engraved views and genre scenes. These very popular engravings were produced by some of the most well known American artists of the day, and they include some unusual and fascinating images illustrating the mores and scenery of ante-bellum America. This print was issued in Graham's Magazine, one of the best known illustrated magazines of the day. It is based on a painted by noted American artist James Smillie, who also engraved the image along with Robert Hinshelwood. A lovely example of the fine prints issued in American illustrated magazines. $65
"Washington Mills Gloucester N.J. near Philadelphia." From George W. Colton's Colton's Atlas of America. New York: J.H. Colton and Company. [and] London: Trübner and Company, 1856. Copyright reads 1855. 16 1/4 x 24 3/4. Lithograph by P.S. Duval & Co. Very good condition
In 1856, J.H. Colton & Co. issued a Philadelphia commercial edition of its Atlas of America, on the cover of which was stamped "Colton's Atlas with Business Cards of the Prominent Houses in Philadelphia. Commercial Edition." This was an atlas in which the Colton firm sold different size advertisements to be placed within the atlas, so that among the fine maps of North and South America which appeared in all their atlases, this version included numerous advertisements for Philadelphia area firms. Most of these were single page advertisements with wood engraved illustrations, though a firm could pay more and get a single page "business card" illustrated in lithography or chromolithography, and some few larger businesses even purchased bigger, double page illustrations of their businesses. These are amongst the most interesting, decorative and rare trade ads of the period. This image is a scene of the Washington Mills in Gloucester, NJ, from the middle of the Delaware River, which is shown brimming with vessels of all sorts. Below the view is a text advertisement for David S. Brown & Co., cloth merchants for Washington Mills and other manufacturers. In the introduction to the atlas, the firm states that this edition of the atlas will be limited to one thousand copies, "and distributed gratuitously, for the interest of the advertisers therein, to leading Hotels and Steamers, throughout the country . . ." $750
Prints by Winslow Homer. Wood engravings. Very good condition.
Newspapers like Harper's Weekly, Ballou's Pictorial, Every Saturday, etc., were filled each week with woodblock illustrations by many of the leading American artists of the last half of the nineteenth century. Now-famous painters like Winslow Homer gained early experience as staff artists on the Civil War battlefield, providing sketches that were published as contemporaneous views of battles, soldiers and scenes. These pictures provided the most widely circulated eye-witness illustrations of the war, and thus were the most common means by which Americans could view the events and persons of the tragic conflict. Also of great interest are the genre scenes drawn by leading American artists, many of whom got their first chance to succeed through such weekly papers. Again, Winslow Homer's work shines through, displaying his talent for sympathetically capturing people in distinctive land- and seascapes. Homer did a number of lovely views of Long Branch in New Jersey.
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