J.J. Barralet. “Centre Square. Erected in 1800. Taken Down in 1829.” [where City Hall stands].
Philadelphia, 1860?. 7 x 12. Engraving by A.B. Walters. Printed by H. Quig. Wide margins. Small tear at right margin. Overall, very good condition. Prints of Philadelphia: 194.
An attractive print showing the first waterworks in Philadelphia, which was located at Centre Square, current site of City Hall. This lovely classical building, designed by B.H. Latrobe, was built in 1800 and taken down in 1828, after it had been supplanted by the Fairmount Waterworks. This print is based on a drawing by John James Barralet, an Irish immigrant who had established a reputation as a landscape and historical artist in Dublin and London. Barralet painted many scenes in and around Philadelphia, including this image of the Centre Square Waterworks. The building is shown to advantage, placed in its park like setting surrounded by trees. Also depicted is William Rush’s statue of the “Nymph of the Schuylkill” installed on the site in 1809. The print was printed by H. Quig from the same plate as that used in 1860 by the Public Ledger carriers for their annual greeting. Because there is additional text engraved on the carrier’s version of the print, it appears possible that this undated edition of the print was engraved and issued prior to 1860. However, the carrier’s print includes the claim that the plate was “Engraved Expressly for the Carriers of the Public Ledger.” Thus it is also possible that the print was reissued at the same time or just after the annual greeting. Whatever its history, this is a very interesting print of the Centre Square Waterworks.