J. C. Wild. "Alms House." [West Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania].
Philadelphia: J. T. Bowen, 1840. 5 1/8 x 7 (image). Lithograph. Original hand color. Framed.
Wild was a Swiss artist who studied in Paris, and then came to Philadelphia around 1832. Soon after he moved to Cincinnati and then back to Philadelphia in 1837. At that time he formed a partnership with J.B. Chevalier to publish a series of small lithographs illustrating the city of Philadelphia. The intent was to sell the prints inexpensively, at a rate of 25 cents for two images, and this was done in part in conjunction with the Saturday Courier, which used the prints in its promotions. The prints were all issued in 1838, and when completed they were sold in a bound volume. The complete work consisted of twenty lovely scenes of Philadelphia and four additional larger prints that show the views from Independence Hall tower in the four cardinal directions. The project was not, however, a success for Wild, and in that year he left Philadelphia to move to the mid-west. Though he stayed only a short time in the city, Wild’s twenty seven views of Philadelphia are amongst the most notable of the nineteenth century. This series of prints went through four different editions. After the original issue, Wild sold his share to his partner, J.B. Chevalier, who reissued the set as sole publisher also in 1838. That same year, J.T. Bowen, who had just moved to Philadelphia to complete the work on the McKenney & Hall Indian portfolio, acquired the rights to the set and issued an edition with himself as publisher. Within a decade, Bowen had reissued the set, though now removing Wild's name as both artist and lithographer. All the editions are of comparable quality and were likely issued both colored and uncolored, except the last edition for which Bowen noted they were "beautifully colored."
Other views from Wild's scenes of Philadelphia: