Unattributed. “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
New York: Root & Tinker, 1883. Chromolithograph. 29 x 20 (image). 34 ¼ X 23 ½ (paper). Three areas of the top margin filled. Two fills in right hand margin with two small areas of loss of image by the Brooklyn Bridge filled and in-painted. Two fills in left hand margin with repaired ten inch tear into image with small loss of image filled and in-painted. Repaired four inch tear into image right hand side. Hard to see 23 three inch diagonal crease starting from top left margin to Brooklyn Bridge on right hand side. Print has been entirely backed with rice paper and print has been professionally conserved. Else, fine condition. A/A
A rare, large folio image of the Statue of Liberty issued in 1883 by The Travelers Insurance Company to celebrate the soon to be erected edifice. The Statue, given to the United States by the people of France, was commissioned from sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi originally for erection in 1876, to celebrate America’s Centennial. Fund raising (for the statue in France and the pedestal in the United States) went very slowly and was only completed in August 1885, though construction of the statue was completed in 1884 and the statue was finally erected and officially opened on October 28th, 1886.
In the years immediately proceeding, anticipation of the erection of the statue grew tremendously and a number of large prints were issued, including by the famous New York publisher Currier & Ives. This image was commissioned by The Travelers Insurance Company to be given to their clients and agents as a bonus and also for advertising. It was printed by Root & Tinker, also of New York. This firm was the publisher of The Clothier & Hatter, and they had previously issued a large, chromolithographed bird’s eye view of New York, a copy of which is in the Library of Congress. Besides this print, the only other recorded prints by this firm is an 1885 chromolithograph of Noah Webster. It appears that Root & Tinker, having access to chromolithographic presses for their Clothier & Hatter, issued prints from time to time on commission or for speculation.
In any case, this is a superb chromolithograph, boldly displaying the statue standing on its pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, with a panoramic view of New York City in the background (the statue is facing the wrong way, but this makes for a better image). The ship is depicted teeming with vessels of all sorts, both steam and sail. Of particular note is the image of the Brooklyn Bridge, which having been under construction beginning in 1869, was finally completed the year this print was published. It is interesting, then, that this is one of the first images of New York City to show what are now two of its most famous landmarks. Rare, decorative and historically fascinating, this is a gem of a print.