Thure de Thulstrup. “Battle of Spotsylvania and the Bloody Angle.”
From Prang’s War Pictures. Boston: American Lithographic Co., ca. 1890. 15 x 21 7/8. Chromolithograph. Full margins. Repaired tear just into image right hand side with a repaired tear in margin left hand side. Very good condition.
In this image, Thulstrup vividly illustrates the Union’s dramatic surprise attack on a salient near Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia on May 12, 1864. Prang called the print “a vivid impression of the desperate struggle,” lauding Thulstrup’s realistic treatment of the battle. Of Prang’s Civil War series (and the American Lithographic Company’s reissue), this image includes the most gruesome account of hand-to-hand combat: near the left edge, a Union soldier stabs a Confederate with his bayonet. This print from the Prang series was re-issued by the American Lithographic Co. ca. 1890.
A print from a striking series of images of the rare and important Civil War series originally issued by Louis Prang between 1886 and 1888 and later reissued later by the American Lithographic Co. In the early 1880s, Century Magazine had issued a very popular work entitled Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, and the Kurz & Allison firm had issued a large chromolithograph of Gettysburg. In response to these, Louis Prang decided to issue a portfolio of 18 elaborate chromolithographs of important battles of the war. Prang termed his prints “aquarelle facsimile prints” to distinguish them from “mere” chromos. Prang claimed they were made by a “new and secret process”, but primarily they were chromos done without any line work. They were based on watercolors commissioned by Prang and they were intended to be naturalistic and accurate, for Prang was aiming these prints for veterans and their descendants. Prang got testimonials on their accuracy from prominent veterans and he included detailed text on the battles involved. The prints were quite popular, helping to create a great surge in patriotic nostalgia about the war.
There were 18 prints in all: 6 of eastern battles, 6 of western battles, and 6 naval images. There was intended to be something for everyone, and Prang focused mostly on heroes who were still living at the time. They were issued either in a portfolio or separately for framing. At first they were issued in parts over time, but eventually were packaged into three groups: East/West/Naval.