William Russell Birch & Son. "An Unfinished House, in Chestnut Street Philadelphia". From The City of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia: William Birch, . McAllister restrike with the numeral "1" upper right corner. 8 x 10 5/8 (image). Engraving. Repaired tear in right hand margin just into plate mark; faint staining just inside plate mark left hand side; all not affecting image. Else, good condition.
When issued in 1800, William Birch's prints of Philadelphia formed the first series of views of any American city. This image shows the house being built for financier Robert Morris on the block bounded by Chestnut and Walnut Streets and Seventh and Eighth Streets. The house was designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant, more famous for his plan of Washington D.C. Morris, who was so important in his role of helping to fund the American Revolution, fell on hard times during the construction of the house and ended up in prison. The house was unsalable and so it was demolished just about the time that this interesting print was issued by Birch.
This print is a restrike which was first issued by Desilver in 1841 and again by John McAllistar around 1860. The McAllister restrikes can be identified as such by a number engraved just outside the image in the upper right hand corner.
Other prints by William Birch: