Thomas Doughty (1793-1856). “To Joseph S. Lewis Esquire, This View of Fair Mount Works, is inscribed…”
Philadelphia: C.G. Childs, ca. 1826. 13 x 19 1/4. Etched and engraved by C.G. Childs. Framed. Deak: 333; Looney, Philadelphia Printmakers, p. 132f.; Munsing, 42; Wohl, 58. Old top mat. Not examined out of frame. Sold as is. A/A
Beginning in 1824, Childs engraved several of Doughty’s images of the Fairmount Waterworks, of which this is the finest. The lovely view shows the waterworks from across the Schuylkill River, a vantage point that Doughty used for a number of his paintings of Fairmount. The print includes a dedication to Joseph S. Lewis, a local merchant who provided significant financial support towards the completion of the waterworks a few years previously. The buildings are depicted about a year after William Rush’s carved allegorical figures were mounted over the entrances to the mill house. Childs well realizes his subject, emphasizing the picturesque setting and the lush rural surroundings. This print is probably the best example of Child’s engraving ability, which was equal to Doughty’s painterly skills. This separately issued print is one of the most desirable images of this important Philadelphia landmark.
A bucolic view of the Fairmount Waterworks, combining the efforts of two of Philadelphia’s great artists and engravers. Thomas Doughty (1793-1856), a native of Philadelphia, became a professional artist in 1819 against the advise of his friends. He was one of the first American-born artists to devote himself to landscape painting, developing his skills with numerous drawings and paintings of scenes around Philadelphia and elsewhere. His benevolent images became very popular, and his artistic career was a success. Early on, Doughty came into contact with Cephas G. Childs, one of the city’s most prominent printmakers. Childs, a native of Bucks county, was an expert engraver and publisher, and he later went on to run an important early lithographic firm. Despite his energy, skill and popularity, Childs never made much money from prints, and so in 1834 he abandoned the business to become a newspaper publisher.