William Henry Bartlett. “The Exchange and Girard’s Bank.” From N. P. Willis. American Scenery.
London: George Virtue, [1839-1840]. 5 x 7 ¼ (image). Steel engraving. Very good condition.
William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854) is the most famous of the artists for the nineteenth century travel volumes. He illustrated several works on different parts of the world and in 1836 was commissioned by George Virtue to make the drawings for a forthcoming volume on American scenery, with text by Nathaniel P. Willis. Bartlett went to the United States that year to make his sketches, returning in 1838 in order to complete them. The four views that Bartlett drew of Philadelphia appear to have been drawn on his second visit. Bartlett’s prints celebrate the city’s economic and social prosperity, one each depicting the United State Bank and the Merchant’s Exchange, and a pair showing Fairmount Waterworks. Bartlett’s prints became the most influential travel engravings of America, and the four of Philadelphia are probably the most popular of any prints of the city.