Carington Bowles after George Heap. "An East Perspective View of the City of Philadelphia, in the Province of Pensylvania, in North America, taken from the Jersey Shore".
London: Bowles & Carver, -ca. 1794. Second State. 9 1/2 x 16 1/8. Engraving. Full original hand coloring. Very good condition. Deak: 101; Snyder 6: 100B. A/A
This is considered the finest and most decorative of the reissues of Heap's "East Prospect" of Philadelphia, and this ambitious and delicate eighteenth-century print is one of the most desirable early profiles of the city. This view shows the city as a bustling river port of some importance and sophistication. A mile of the Philadelphia waterfront, from present-day South Street to Vine Street, is depicted in considerable detail. In the foreground lies Windmill Island, and the river is congested with vessels of all types.
The creator of this print was London print maker, Carington Bowles. This was one of the vue d'optique or perspective views showing the cities of the world, prints that were very popular in the late eighteenth century. These prints were produced for a viewing machine. The hand color, necessitated by the optical show, is also noteworthy, the tones being more vivid and brilliant than on other, similar views of the period. The first issue of the engraving bore the date "1 Jany 1778" on the plate. In about 1794 Carington Bowles was succeeded by Bowles & Carver, and the new publisher's name appeared on the plate. But no change was made in the engraved picture itself.