John L. Krimmel. “Procession of Victuallers of Philadelphia, on the 15th of March, 1821. Conducted under the direction of Mr. William White...”
Philadelphia: Joseph Yeager, 1821-22. First edition. 14 3/8 x 23 1/2. Aquatint by J. Yeager. Printed by Charles Woodward, Jr. Full original hand coloring. Four tears in image expertly repaired. Paper somewhat time-toned with some mottling. Expertly conserved and very good appearance. Deak: 331; Munsing: 33; Naeve: 105; Stauffer: 3438.
This splendid view of early Philadelphia prosperity was the work of a celebrated and popular artist of the period. John L. Krimmel was a native of Germany, who came to the United States in 1810, settling in Philadelphia, where he painted portraits, miniatures, and good-natured street and domestic scenes. This elaborate visual chronicle was one of his most celebrated works. It was an important enough painting to be taken over as the subject of three different prints, the first edition being this large and separately issued aquatint published around 1821-22. As the long caption to the print explains, the event being commemorated is the conveying to market of an especially fine and abundant ‘harvest’ of livestock. We are told that 100 carts were required to transport 86,731 pounds of beef, pork, lamb, etc., all of which was sold within 24 hours. The successful cattle merchants are named individually along with an account of their contributions. The significance of the event and the picture as the fruition of the city’s economic success and encouragement of good works is summed up in the seal and motto, “We feed the hungry,” that appears in the title line.
The print captures the details and animation of the event with great intricacy and enthusiasm. The view was drawn from Mathew Carey & Son’s book shop, located at the southeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets. The fully regaled butchers move triumphantly in procession down the street, riding amidst a long line of floats. They are cheered on by a dense crowd of onlookers romping along beside and hanging out of upper story windows. Faces, movements, clothes, are rendered in loving detail, as are the facades of the buildings. The varied and jovial coloring keeps up with the subject matter and graphic handling. For the moment it records, as well as the execution, this is one of the finest early Philadelphia prints.