John Caspar Wild (1804-46). “Panorama of Philadelphia, From the State House Steeple.” Set of 4 prints.
Philadelphia: Wild & Chevalier, 1838. Each ca. 8 1/4 x 12 1/2. Lithographs. Very good condition. Lane & Cresswell: 138; Snyder 2; Wainwright 264-267. Includes Hogarth style black frames and glass. A/A Sold as a set of four
An excellent and rare set of four panoramic views of Philadelphia taken from the perspective of the State House steeple. J. Caspar 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. Once Wild had finished his twenty scenes about the city, he added four unusual, larger prints as a supplement to the series, showing the city stretching out from the high vantage point of the State House steeple.
This set of prints combines to form a panoramic view of Philadelphia taken from the perspective of the top of Independence Hall’s tower. The original steeple of the State House had been removed in 1781, and was only reinstalled in 1828 under the direction of William Strickland. These prints show the views from the tower looking in the four cardinal directions. Before he emigrated to America, Wild had produced a similar set of prints depicting Venice, but this was the first such ‘panoramic’ set of any American city. Each of the prints is carefully and elegantly rendered with great attention to architectural detail, space and clarity. We are given a 360 degree view of the city with the Delaware River to the East and South and the prosperous urban expansion to the West and North. It is rare to have the complete set of four prints, making for one of the most desirable as well as lovely groups of Philadelphia views from the nineteenth century.