Prints relating to
[ Portraits & Caricatures | Willliam Penn & Penn's Treaty | Friends' Meetinghouses & other scenes ]
Portraits & Caricatures
Benjamin West. "Mr. West and Family." London: John Boydell, 1773. 20 x 25 1/2 (image). Stipple engraving. Hair margin. Title is separate having been cut off in the past. Dedication: "To her Imperial Majesty of all the Russia's [sic]; this plate is respectfully Dedicated, by her most dutiful and Obedient humble servants, published July 26th, 1779 by John Boydell Engraver Cheapside London." A few spots. Strong and even impression.
By 1772, when the original painting was created, Benjamin West was established in London as a history painter and portraitist, and his family visited from Pennsylvania. Historians have assumed that he made this group portrait for his family so they could remember these elder Quakers. Benjamin West holds his palette and maulstick and stands to the right looking past his father and brother at his family. Closest to him is his father, John, next his half-brother Thomas, and Betsy Shewell West holds Benjamin West Jr. while Raphael leans on his mother's chair and looks out to engage the viewer. The appeal of this image went far beyond the austere and serious West family because John Boydell decided to publish and distribute this stipple engraving, probably to Quakers, in Great Britain and America. The Quakers would have been proud that one of their own was history painter to George III. The original painting is now in the private collection of the late Paul Mellon in Upperville, Virginia. $1,400
"Nicholas Waln. Nat. 1741 [sic] - OB. 1813." Aquatint by Edwin. 5 x 4 1/8". Light soiling of paper, else very good condition. $45
Richard Dighton. (1795-1880) "Is Friend Rothschild on 'Change." (Samuel Gurney). London: Drawn, etched, and published by Richard Dighton, March 17, 1823 and inscribed in pencil "Mr. Gurney." 11 7/8 x 8 5/8. Original hand color. Full margins. Extensive spotting. Else, good condition.
A Quaker banker, Samuel Gurney (1786-1856) was a member of Parliament where he campaigned for good causes, such as the abolition of slavery. Along with Jews Sir Moses Montefiore and Nathan Mayer Rothschild, leading financiers such as John Irving and Francis Baring, and fellow Quakers, Gurney was instrumental in founding of the Alliance Assurance Company in 1824. In 1849, in the middle of the Great Famine, in which a million people died, he toured Ireland, making generous donations. He also sent money to Liberia, founded by former American slaves; a town there was named after him in 1851. He advocated for, and helped to fund, Britain's first hospital for dock workers, established in 1855 in east London. $300
"B. West." [Portrait of Benjamin West] After a drawing by Pierre-Louis dit Henri Grevedon (1776-1860). Lithographed by C. Motte in Paris circa. 1830. Hand coloring. 13 x 11 (image and text). Full margins. Excellent condition.
As the French empire of Napoleon Bonaparte was falling apart in the early second decade of the nineteenth century, the young French artist Henri Grevedon visited England and the studio of Benjamin West. This portrait shows the older and mature master of historical paintings regarding his subject with a concentrated stare. A fine and unusual life study. $425
Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. "BENJAMIN WEST, P.R.A." New York: William Hayward, January 1st 1842. 27 3/4 x 18 1/4 (plate mark). Engraved by Charles Rolls. Sold by Thomas Boys XI Golden Square, London. One inch repaired tear in bottom, right margin. Strong strike.
The American-born painter Benjamin West (1738-1820) had risen to the pinnacle of success as a history painter in 1792 when he became president of the Royal Academy. In 1818 John Trumbull, as president of the American Academy, asked Sir Thomas Lawrence to paint a full length portrait of West for $2,000. It was finished after West's death and sent to New York in 1822. The original portrait showing West in a long robe that he wore in his studios painting and lecturing was sold to the Wadsworth Athenaeum in 1855. Lawrence made a copy for himself.
This bold portrait published both in America and England is a fitting tribute to Benjamin West during this age of appreciation for fine and nationalistic art. $925
G.H. Harlow. "Benjamin West P.R.A." For The Ladies' Repository. Cincinnati: 1847. Engraving by W. Wellstood. 5 3/4 x 4 7/8". Light soiling of paper, else very good condition.
One of a scarce group of excellent American engravings from The Ladies' Repository. This mid-nineteenth century periodical was produced in Cincinnati by members of the Methodist Church. It was a magazine "Devoted To Literature and Religion," containing articles, poetry, fiction, and notes of interest to its readers. One of its most interesting aspects was the inclusion of engravings. Many had a religious or "genre" theme, but many were topographical views of different parts of the United States. This magazine had a limited circulation and so these prints are quite a bit more scarce than most engravings of the period. Some of the views are based on images by W.H. Bartlett, but other images are taken either from large folio views of the period or are drawn first hand for The Ladies' Repository. $55
Henry L. Stephens. "Old Shad and Young." Print from The Comic Natural History of the Human Race. Philadelphia: Samuel Robinson, 1851. Printed in colors by Rosenthal. Approx. 7 x 6. Very good condition.
A very interesting and amusing series of prints of Philadelphia's most well-known social figures and types in the mid-nineteenth century. Strong, recognizable faces perch comically atop animal bodies, each with a witty title designed to draw a chuckle. Originally issued in eight installments, thirty-nine plates were eventually printed to be bound into the complete collection of politicians and artists, businessmen and paupers.
"Shad" was a term for Protestant dissenters in Philadelphia, including Quakers and Mennonites. Designed by Stephens with a sharp wit, the plates were printed by the Rosenthal brothers with considerable innovation. Trained in lithography while in Europe, Max, Louis, Simon, and Morris Rosenthal emigrated from Poland to the United States in the late 1840s, where they worked for famous Philadelphia printer/publisher P.S. Duval. Eventually establishing their own firm, the brothers are known in print history for developing chromolithography in the United States. In these prints, one can see the early expertise they employed in printing with color. All in all, these prints are a wonderful example of early chromolithography, and also have a wonderful whimsical appeal. $85
From John F. Watson's Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Times. Philadelphia: Whiting & Thomas, 1856.
From Watson: My friend, Lang Syne, who has good feelings for those kind of reminiscences, has left some picturesque traces of some of the old preaching Friends, and of some of their school teachers, calculated to revive pleasing images of the past to those who love the associations of their early days. He thus speaks of his recollections of the preachers, saying, "James Pemberton, Nicholas Waln, Daniel Offley, Arthur Howell, William Savery and Thomas Scattergood were the then "burning and shining lights". . . . . Nicholas Waln appeared at all times with a smile of sunshine upon his countenance." $20
From 1868 until February 5, 1914, Vanity Fair, a weekly magazine of social, literary and political content, was published to the delight of Victorian and later, Edwardian England. Most popular of its features were the wonderful full page caricatures of famous men and women of the day, prints that remain Vanity Fair's great legacy. The two most famous artists who worked for Vanity Fair were "Ape" (Carlo Pellegrini) and "Spy" (Leslie Ward), but many other artists provided images for this long running series of delightful caricatures. $35
William Nicholson. "Q for Quaker." From An Alphabet. New York: R.H. Russell, 1898. Ca. 9 1/2 x 7 3/4. Color lithographic transfer from wood block. Very good condition. JT OUT ON APPROVAL
William Penn & Penn's Treaty
Benjamin West. "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians, when he founded the Province of Pensylvania in North America 1681." London: John Boydell, 1775. 17 1/2 x 23 3/4. Engraving by John Hall. Printed on laid paper. Either late 18th century or early 19th century strike. Print mounted onto board and top and side margins trimmed to image. Several tears and creases in image. Otherwise, nice impression in fair condition. Attractive full hand color. Snyder: 238; Fowble: 130.
Legend has it that William Penn signed a treaty with the Indians for his lands in 1681 under the Treaty Elm, located in what is now Kensington. Though the scene is apocryphal, Benjamin West's famous painting of the event is one of the most copied of all pictures of Philadelphia. The painting was commissioned by William Penn, and it was finished in 1771. This is an example of the first print made from that painting, published by John Boydell in London in 1775. West's depiction was accepted throughout Europe and America as an accurate portrayal of this legendary event, and it has become one of the most influential images in Pennsylvania iconography.
The print shows an honest looking William Penn trading goods for the rights to the land. The Indians and Europeans all appear very civilized. The idealized figures of the Indians were modeled from statues in the Vatican, which West sketched when studying in Rome. While completely fictitious, the several large buildings shown under construction in the background were intended to imply the prosperity of Pennsylvania, the same intent of the many ships seen riding in the Delaware off in the distance. An influential and fascinating eighteenth century image. $2,600
Henry Inman. "William Penn." Philadelphia: 1834-35. Engraved and printed by John Sartain. 20 3/4 x 15 3/4. Very good condition.
A classic full length portrait of the founder of Pennsylvania holding his charter from the English king in his right hand and a glove symbolizing elegance and status in his left. The landscape background shows the native Indians as the noble savage, while a peaceful landscape shows a great tree, which could be the treaty oak in Philadelphia, and if so, then the river is the Delaware with an Indian canoe in the far distance. The print was produced by the mezzotint process by John Sartain (1808-1897). Sartain, known as the "father of mezzotint engraving" in the U.S. popularized this elaborate printmaking process when he emigrated to this country from England in 1830. His prints always have a strong and rich texture that enhances their aesthetic qualities considerably, This image is based on a painting by Henry Inman, an artist known particularly for his portraits. Ref.: Ann Katharine Martinez. The Life and Career of John Sartain (1808-1897) , unpublished dissertation at George Washington University (Washington, D.C., 4 May 1986), fig. 13. $950
After Benjamin West. "Wm. Penn's Treaty with the Indians when he Founded the Province of Pennsa. 1661." New York: N. Currier, 1838-56. Small folio: 8 1/8 x 12 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Trimmed margins. Otherwise, very good condition. C:6697.
From 1834 to 1907 the firm of Nathaniel Currier, and then Currier and Ives, provided for the American people a pictorial history of their country's growth from an agricultural society to an industrialized one. For nearly three quarters of a century the firm provided "Colored Engravings for the People," becoming the visual raconteurs of 19th century America.
In 1834 Nathaniel Currier established the firm which produced colored pictures using a then-new process called lithography. Some of the finest artists of the day, including Louis Maurer, Thomas Worth, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, Frances Flora Bond Palmer, George H. Durrie, Napoleon Sarony, Charles Parsons and J.E. Butterworth were engages by the firm to produce a variety of images. First printed in black and white, prints were then colored with imported Austrian pigments, by German women employed by the firm. Ready for foreign and domestic distribution, the prints were sold at home and abroad, sold to shops, mailed through catalogues, and hawked by push-cart peddlers, whose carts were covered with images selling for a few pennies apiece.
The firm produced two types of prints-"rush" stock prints quickly made to provide information about newsworthy events, and "stock" prints depicting every conceivable subject relating to American life, such as city views, sports, games, home life, religion, entertainment, and so forth. These print had a profound effect on popular culture, reflecting and influencing the tastes, attitudes and perception of the world held by many Americans.
This lithograph used as its source the famous large painting by Benjamin West that has also been reproduced by printmakers in the 18th and 19th centuries. The original painting hangs at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. $575
"Wm. Penns Treaty with the Indians when he Founded the Province of Pennsa. 1661." New York: J. Baillie, ca. 1850. 8 5/8 x 12 1/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Spot in margin below title. Else, very good condition. $425
B. West. "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians." London & New York: James S. Virtue, ca. 1850. 4 5/8 x 7. Steel engraving. Very good condition. $125
From John F. Watson's Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Times. Philadelphia: Whiting & Thomas, 1856.
The original and true likeness of William Penn, or the best and only one existing as such among us, is a bust in the Loganian library, which was first taken by Sylvanus Bevan, acknowledged by the best judges to be a very capable and extraordinary hand in that line, to whom, in his young years, William Penn was a familiar acquaintance, friend and patron. A note of Robert Proud says, "The likeness is a real and true one, as I have been informed, not only by himself, (S.B.) but also by other old men in England, of the first character in the Society of Friends, who knew him in their youth." In the Evening Post of 1778, it is asserted that Du Simitiere, the miniature and crayon painter, offers the only likeness extant of the great Founder, drawn by him from a bust in alto relievo, and engraved in London.
Who has a copy? Since then, however, there has been sent out as a present to the Historical Society, by the Penn family in England, an original portrait in oil, done from life, and in armour, when Wm. Penn seems to have been a half grown lad. It is finely executed --- presents a beautiful face, with full flowing ringlets of hair, and makes us wonder at the contrast of characters in the same person, as seen in our common portraits of him in his wig and Quaker garb. Still they are sufficiently alike in features to show that his portraits, of both kind, have been faithfully done to nature. The sharp pointed nose is equally visible in both. $20
This image of William Penn's treaty with the Indians comes from a much enlarged compendium about the history of Philadelphia. Watson's Annals described and illustrated scenes of "old" Philadelphia from a mid 19th century perspective. Handsome and detailed, it is a lovely version of the famous Benjamin West image. $75
William Penn held a great Indian treaty, in 1701, with forty Indian chiefs, who came from many nations to Philadelphia to settle the friendship. The same year he had also a great Indian council at Pennsbury, to take leave of him, to renew covenants, &c. $25
After Benjamin West. "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians." Philadelphia: Illman & Sons, 1857. With engraved facsimile of William Penn's signature. Line engraving. 14 1/2 x 11 (plate marks) plus margins. Steel engraving. Overall excellent condition. Not in Snyder, Mirror.
An intriguing 19th-century broadside illustrating Penn's legendary treaty of friendship with the Lenni Lenape Indians. The theatrical rendering of the figures after Benjamin West's painting, along with the exuberant poem (appropriately enough, in 18th-century heroic couplets) perpetuate nicely the happy legend. A charming piece of Philadelphia history that was prepared for distribution by newspaper carriers who sold them as a memento or gift at the beginning of the new year. This is one of the most attractive and accomplished of these carriers' broadsides that is a recognized genre produced in American cities in the nineteenth century. $450
C.R.G. "WM. PENN." Philadelphia: Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, ca. 1940. 19 x 13 3/16. Screen print. Wide margins. $125
Friends' Meetinghouses & other scenes
Views from Sherman Day's Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: George W. Gorton 1843. 2 1/4 x 4. Wood engravings.
During the middle of the nineteenth century, Pennsylvania's economy experienced new, state-wide growth, sparking new interest in previously lesser-known areas of the state. Prompting travel to new communities, this economic growth also sparked publication of new books to satisfy curiosity about all parts of Pennsylvania. One of the most important such works, Sherman Day's Historical Collections is noted for its individual county histories, well-illustrated with charming wood-engravings. Covering larger cities like Philadelphia and Reading, the images also display the Keystone state's smaller towns and rural sites. Relying on first-hand sketches, the printer translated the images into wood-engraving, which allowed for mass printing and distribution of this important early set of state-wide illustrations. In some cases, Day's views comprise the only mid-nineteenth century views of Pennsylvania's smaller communities. From the well-known views of Philadelphia to the obscure country landscapes, prints from Day's volume are treasured documents of state history.
From John F. Watson's Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Times. Philadelphia: Whiting & Thomas, 1856. Wood engravings.
The old Court House, long divested of its original honours by being appropriated during the years of the present generation to the humble purposes of offices and lumber rooms for city watchmen and clerks of the markets, &c., had long been regarded by many as a rude and undistinguished edifice. But this structure, diminutive and ignoble as it may have appeared to our modern conceptions, was the 'chef-d'oeuvre' and largest endeavour of our pilgrim fathers. Assessments, gifts and fines, were all combined to give it the amplitude of the "Great Towne House," or "Guild Hall," as it was occasionally at first called.
"The Great Meeting House" of Friends, at the south-west corner of Second and High streets, was originally constructed in 1695; and "great" as it was in the ideas of the primitive population, it was taken down in 1755, to build greater. That, in time, became so shut in, and disturbed by the street-noise of increased population, that it was deemed expedient to sell off the premises; in the year 1808, and construct the large Meeting on their Arch street ground.
In primitive times, when culprits were few, and society simple and sincere, the first prisons were small and of but slender materials. There was at first a small cage for offenders -- next a hired house with bars and fetters -- then a brick prison on the site of the present Jersey market, fronting towards the old court house, at one hundred feet of distance. As appointment to the High street prison, there stood the market shambles, on the site of the present Jersey market. [Note: shambles = vendors' tables] They were at first moveable, and were not placed there in the line of the prison till about ten years after the town had erected the permanent brick market at the western end of the court house. $25
The Friends' Meeting, in Front above Mulberry street, built in 1685, was originally intended as an "Evening Meeting," while the one at the Centre Square (south-west corner) was then erected as a Day Meeting. Part of the surplus materials used at the latter were removed to aid in building the evening meeting. It was called, in that day, "the Evening Meeting." In after years, when they constructed in 1753, "the Hill Meeting" on Pine street, they called this house, in relation to its position, the "North Meeting." After they cut down the Front street before the house, so as to leave the meeting on a high table land, they then called it "the Bank Meeting." It was sold and taken down in 1789, at the time it became useless by their building "the new meeting-house" in Keys' alley, which soon afterwards took the name of "the Up-town Meeting." $25
This ancient and antiquated looking building, fronting on Walnut street, near Third street, was founded more than a century ago, for the benevolent purpose of providing for the maintenance of the poor of that Society. The ground plot, and a large one too, was given to Friends by John Martin, on condition that they should support him for life. The front edifice was built in 1729; and those wings in the garden were built about sixteen years earlier, they being then sufficient for the wants of the Society. $20
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