C.H. Wells. “The Hall of Independence. Annual Ledger Carriers Greeting 1861.”
Philadelphia: Public Ledger, 1861. Engraving by John B. Neagle. Printed by H. Quig. 8 x 11 1/2 plus text. Light scrape down center. Otherwise, very good condition.
A finely engraved image of the interior of the Assembly or East Room in the State House, which by the mid-nineteenth century was commonly referred to as “Independence Hall.” The building was purchased from the state by Philadelphia in 1818. In 1828, William Strickland was commissioned to reinstall the steeple, and then in 1830 John Haviland was hired to “restore” the Assembly Room. This room was made into a historic museum, with the Liberty Bell on display. Charles Willson Peale’s series of portraits of figures from the Revolutionary period had been on display in the second floor of Independence Hall from 1802 until 1828, and Haviland had these transferred to the Assembly Room. The result of Haviland’s work is illustrated in this engraving by John B. Neagle. Neagle came to Philadelphia from England when he was quite young, and he became an engraver in the city, where he worked until his death. Late in his career, Neagle primarily worked on bank notes, and the precision necessary for that job is clearly evident in this fine engraving. This print was issued as a gift to be given out to subscribers of the Ledger by the carriers, in anticipation, of course, of a Christmas gift for themselves.