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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Historical Prints

Historical Prints


A Selection of Historical PrintsCharts of World HistoryHistorical Cartoons
AllegoriesExplorationsU.S. Army & Navy
Currier & IvesKurz & AllisonMarine Prints
Quakers & Society of Friends
Historic Figures
George WashingtonAbraham LincolnOther Presidents
Benjamin FranklinCartes de Visite
of Lincoln and Contemporaries
Napoleon Bonaparte and French History
Portraits of the RevolutionPortraits of the Civil WarMiscellaneous historical portraits
Events in American History
French & Indian WarAmerican RevolutionWar of 1812
Mexican-American WarCivil WarSpanish American War
American Philippine WarWorld Wars I & II
American Political Prints
European History
English historyRevolt of the NetherlandsFrench Cavalry Prints


A Selection of Interesting Prints:

"Settlement on the Marriage of Mr. James Hesleden with Miss Faussett." 13 April 1812. 23 x 28 1/4. Parchment. Some wear along folds.

This English indenture was between four parties: Lieutenant James Hesleden of the Royal Navy (1786-1826); Anna Maria Fausett, his fiancée (1785-1815); William Hesleden (James's father); and the administrators of the estate of Anna Maria's father, Bryan Fausett, who had died intestate, William Smith Hesleden (apparently James's brother) and Henry Godfrey Faussett, Bryan's brother. The Hesledens were from Barton on Humber in the County of Lincoln and the Fausetts from Sittingbourne in the County of Kent.

By the indenture, in consequence of money James had in an annuity ("at three pounds per cent per annum"), plus money that his father would add to that annuity investment, Anna Maria declined any share in her father's estate in favor of her mother Dorothy Faussett. Apparently, Dorothy Faussett would die in 1814, a year before her daughter. James and Anna Maria Fausett Hesleden were possibly parents of Anna Maria Hesleden Burnard (1813-1872), and Bryan Hesleden, attorney admitted as clerk to William Smith Hesleden in 1836, but who, as a "money broker," went bankrupt in 1855.

An interesting document of the time period, with the signatures and wax seals of the five persons affixed. JT OUT ON APPROVAL

"An Address of Members of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, to Their Constituents, on the Subject of the War with Great Britain." New York: C.S. Van Winkle, 1812. 8 1/2 x 5 1/4. 32pp. With stains.

This pamphlet is a protest of the War of 1812, signed by thirty-four members of Congress. The New York printing is one of several appearing the same year in Alexandria, Hartford, New Haven, Baltimore and other cities.

Interestingly, one of the signers, Maryland-born Philip Barton Key (1757-1815), was an uncle of Francis Scott Key, who wrote "The Star Spangled Banner" during this war. Philip was a loyalist British officer during the time of the American Revolution, but never fought against the United States. He had resigned his British army pension in order to enter Congress in 1807. $45

Crevecoeur allegory
Girault. "L'Aigle a tete chauve enlevant la proie de l'aigle Pecheur" From Michel-Guillaume Saint Jean de Crevecoeur's Voyage dans la Haute Pennsylvanie. Paris, 1801. 4 1/2 x 6 5/8. Engraving by P.F. Tardieu. Folds as issued. Excellent condition.

An allegory of France, America, and Britain in 1801 from Crevecoeur's famous volume on 'upper' Pennsylvania. This work was issued during a period of intense intrigue involving Republican France and the monarchical Britain. Crevecoeur depicts the chance for France of retaking its former colonies in a manner similar to the way an eagle snatches the catch of an osprey. An eagle will wait for an osprey to catch a fish, swooping down on the smaller bird, forcing it to drop the fish, and then grabbing it out of mid-air. So, Crevecoeur suggests, France can recapture its American colonies if it is ruthless and agile enough. $145

GoGo to page with other allegories

"Speech of Henry Clay, in Defence of the American System, Against the British Colonial System, with an Appendix of Documents Referred to in the Speech: Delivered in the Senate of the United States, February 2d, 3d, and 6th, 1832." Washington, Gales and Seaton, 1832. 44 pages. 8 3/8 x 5 1/2. Expected foxing and toning. Else, very good condition.

Clay's "American System" consisted of three policies: a tariff to protect and promote American industry; a national bank to foster commerce; and, tariffs and sales of public lands to fund federal subsidies for roads, canals, and other internal improvements to develop profitable markets for agriculture.

Historian and Clay biographer Robert Remini has been quoted as saying that this 1832 speech "buttressed logical arguments with statistical data, all compellingly presented with humor, grace, passion, a touch of sarcasm here and there, and the force of personality and language." $25

Coronation of Queen Victoria
E.T. Parris. [The Crowning of Queen Victoria.] London: F.G. Moon, 1842. Proof before letters, signed in pencil by E.T. Parris. Engraving by C.E. Wagstaff. 23 1/2 x 34. Some repaired tears, but overall very good condition and fine impression.

A large and brilliantly rendered engraving of the coronation of Queen Victoria. The engraving, issued in 1842, shortly after the coronation, is after a painting by E.T. Parris, who signed this proof copy of the print in pencil. The engraving is superbly worked, well exhibiting the quality of the best of British printmaking at the beginning of the Victorian age. Victoria, a quite young woman, sites in the center surrounded by her relatives and court. The packed Westminster Abbey is shown packed with the cream of British society, with brilliant sunlight streaming in to highlight the new monarch. A glorious and early item of Victoriana. $650

Daniel Webster. "An Address, Delivered at the Completion of the Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1843." Sewn with Webster's "An Address Delivered at the Laying of the Corner Stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1825." Boston: Tappan and Dennet, 1843. 20 pages + 15 pages. 10 x 6 1/4. Expected toning plus some staining in bottom margins. Else, good condition.

Daniel Webster (1782-1852) was one of the most prominent statesmen in our nation's first century. In 1825, a crowd including some forty survivors of the Battle of Bunker Hill heard the Massachusetts orator conclude his cornerstone address as follows: "Let our object be, OUR COUNTRY, OUR WHOLE COUNTRY, AND NOTHING BUT OUR COUNTRY. And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself become a vast and splendid monument, not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze with admiration for ever!"

Eighteen years later, the monument was finished and the audience listened to Webster's peroration: "We have indulged in gratifying recollections of the past, in the prosperity and pleasures of the present, and in high hopes of the future. But let us remember that we have duties and obligations to perform, corresponding to the blessings which we enjoy. Let us remember the trust, the sacred trust, attaching to the rich inheritance which we have received from our fathers. Let us feel our personal responsibility, to the full extent of our power and influence, for the preservation of our institutions of civil and religious liberty. And let us remember that it is only religion, and morals, and knowledge, that can make men respectable and happy under any form of government. Let us hold fast the great truth that communities are responsible, as well as individuals; that no government is respectable which is not just; that without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity and honor - no mere forms of government, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society."

Webster's nineteenth century words can inspire Americans even in the twenty-first century. $25

Penn's Treaty with the Indians
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

Binns Declaration of Independence
John Binns. "Declaration of Independence. In Congress. July 4th. 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America." Philadelphia: J. Binns, 1819. 35 1/4 x 25 1/4. Engraving. Second edition published by Henry Sartain, ca. 1865. Excellent condition. Print has been professionally conserved, with original frame fitted to archival specifications. Ref: American Political Prints: 1819-1; John Bidwell's "American History in Image and Text" in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, XCVIII: pt. 2 (1988): #5.

With the end of the War of 1812 by the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, the American people were feeling secure in the future of their new country, and they realized that the formulators and signers of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were almost gone from American political life. At that time with the rise of intense and often acrimonious political partisanship, printmakers began celebrating the unifying documents and founding fathers with adulatory broadsides that combined texts and pictures. By then the Declaration of Independence had taken on new meaning signifying the unity and history of the nation, so it is not surprising that a number of prints were produced glorifying the document.

An Irish immigrant who became a Philadelphia journalist and publisher, John Binns, was the first to conceive the idea of a "splendid and correct copy of the Declaration of Independence, with fac-similes of all the signatures," for which he sought subscribers in 1816. Because of the care which he took in producing his print-using the work of several artists, carefully copying the state seals, and borrowing accurate portraits for his medallions-it took over three years before the print was finally completed in 1819. In the meantime, Benjamin Owen Tyler, who had undoubtedly learned of Binn's project, rushed a less expensive and simpler facsimile to market, beating Binns by over a year and cutting into his market. To counter this, Binns got permission to add a statement from Secretary of State John Quincy Adams that the signatures on his print were exact duplicates of the originals. And while not first in production, Binns' print of the Declaration was the first to be conceived and was a finer production than the cheaper Tyler print.

Binns broadside is a most impressive engraving, reproducing the text of the Declaration of Independence with beautiful calligraphy and including accurate facsimiles of all the original signatures, the whole encircled by seals of the original thirteen states. At the top is an American eagle beneath which George Washington's portrait is surrounded by spears, flags, trumpets of war and the cornucopia of peace and prosperity. On either side of Washington are portraits of Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock. Binns' print spawned many imitations; it is one of the rarest and most important American political prints of the early nineteenth century. $25,000

Ormsby: Declaration of Independence
John Trumbull. "Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. July 4th 1776." New York: W.L. Ormsby, ca. 1830. Restrike ca. 1876? 20 1/4 x 30 1/4. Engraving by "W. L. Ormsby after Durand." Hand color. Print has been professionally conserved and backed with rice paper. Three tears into image expertly repaired. Some chipping in margin which has been filled with rice paper backing. Margins trimmed to plate mark but ample for framing. Some scuffing in image and margins. Wear in title indicating a later strike. Else, fine condition.

John Trumbull was a participant in the American Revolution and a friend of most of the great figures of his day, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. After he left the army, Trumbull found his way to the London studio of fellow American Benjamin West. West was an innovator who had established that painting images of historical scenes in the grand European style was a respectable theme for an artist. Inspired by his instructor, Trumbull conceived of a series of canvases on the history of his own country. He painted scenes of the Battle of Bunker's Hill, the Death of General Montgomery, and the Declaration of Independence. For the latter of these Trumbull resolved to show only accurate likenesses of the signers, in line with his concern of presenting a true memorial to this historic event. Trumbull drew images in person where he could, using other life portraits or portraits of the sons for any of the other signers who were no longer alive or available.

It was difficult to make a living from the sale of such paintings, and Trumbull thought there might be a better chance of profit from selling engravings. Thus he had prints made of Bunker's Hill and the Death of Montgomery, but these did not sell well and Trumbull did not proceed on the Declaration. However, with the success of his larger version of the painting, commissioned to be hung in the U.S. Capitol, Trumbull decided to again try the market with a print of this scene. He had American engraver Asher B. Durand produce a large image of the Declaration, which subsequently became one of the most popular American patriotic scenes, leading to a number of other versions in different sizes. This is the finest of the derivative images, engraved by Waterman Lilly Ormsby (1809-1883). Ormsby was a New York engraver who was famous for founding the Continental Bank Note Company of New York. He invented a ruling machine, a transfer press, and a "grammagraph," according to Stauffer a device for engraving directly on steel from medals and medallions. This print, approximately the size of Durand's original is an exquisite example of Ormsby's fine and strong work with the addition of a delicate and complete key etched at the bottom margin. This print is most likely a restrike or a later printing issued for the Centennial in order to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence one hundred years earlier. $2,400

An American Interpretation of John Singleton Copley's "The Death of Major Peirson"

Defending the Flag
Anonymous engraving after a painting by John Singleton Copley. "Defending the Flag." No place or date given, but style and printing technique suggests American done between 1855 and 1875. Etching. 19 x 23 (plate marks) 26 1/4 x 32 (full sheet). Excellent condition.

This unusual print is a direct copy from John Singleton Copley's famous painting "The Death of Major Peirson" executed 1782-84. The original oil painting, now in the Tate Gallery, London, celebrated an incident in the town square of St. Helier on the Channel Isle of Jersey. French forces had almost taken the town and island when a young Major Francis Peirson rallied the British forces, counterattacked, and drove the invaders off. At the moment of victory, the youthful officer was killed, and this picture showed him being carried from the field amid the excitement and terror of battle.

An anonymous American engraver took the same image and transformed it into a patriotic statement by changing the Union Jack to the American colonial flag and entitling the print "Defending the Flag." Other more subtle changes were wrought by inscribing "U.S." on the drum in the left foreground and removing the background statue of George III from under the tassel on the flag. Otherwise most of the details remain: significantly, the vignette at the right showing the fleeing family for which Copley used his wife and son, the gallant Negro covering the party carrying the dead hero, and other troops gallantly fighting. This print could have been created in the mid-1850s in response to attempts to generate patriotism by reminding the populace of the American Revolution during a time of regional strife building between the North and the South. Similar images were also used after the Civil War to help bind the wounds, and they continued well into the 1870s as Americans celebrated the centennial of the United States. Printing style and paper size suggest a later date rather than an earlier one, but we find no other documentation on this print, and our forefathers in the prints business constantly amaze us with their products. $650


U.S. Senate
Peter F. Rothermel. "The United States Senate, A.D. 1850." Philadelphia: John M. Butler and Alfred Long, 1855. 29 1/2 x 37 1/2 (platemarks) plus all margins. Engraving by R. Whitechurch. Minor wear on side of Clay's face and the group of men directly behind him. Small expertly repaired tears in the faces of the men just in front of Clay. Otherwise, incredibly good condition for a large separately issued print. Strong strike and even impression.

A dramatic print of Rothermel's painting featuring Henry Clay addressing the Senate. The event depicted here is Clay's argument for the "Compromise of 1850" or the "California compromise," to admit California into the Union as a free state in an attempt to prevent what became the American Civil War. Details of the Old Senate Chamber and the august members of the Senate, including Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun and Thomas Hart Benton, are sharp, down to the patterned carpet and draperies behind the president's chair, where Vice President Millard Fillmore is seated. The faces are accurate because Rothermel used daguerreotypes of the major figures in his painting. This print's crowded gallery, and the seriousness of expression in its subjects pay fitting tribute to Clay, the orator and statesman, as he made an historically important argument just two years before his death. One of the best American political prints of the nineteenth century. $3,600

Brown: Webster addressing U.S. Senate
E. Brown Jr. "Daniel Webster Addressing the U.S. Senate On The Compromise Measures, March 7th 1850." New York: R. Van Dien, 1856. 21 3/4 x 29 3/8. Lithograph. Printed by G.W. Lewis. Some chipping & repaired tears. Overall, very good condition. With printed key to the figures.

This print commemorates Daniel Webster's address to the Senate suggesting a compromise designed to lessen the tension between the North and South over the slavery issue. In 1849 there were fifteen free and fifteen slave states, giving an equal balance of representation for both sections in the Senate. The admission of California, in 1850, as a free state, upset this equilibrium and worried the South. In conjunction with California's entry to the Union, most Northerners demanded that any future states be admitted as free states. This was unacceptable to the South. The North had greater wealth, population, and political power, and the South saw its own economic and social status, based on slavery, as threatened.

Daniel Webster's speech suggested a compromise and was an attempt to mollify both sides. Webster, an ardent opponent of slavery, foresaw that if a compromise were not reached, the South might try to secede from the Union. Unfortunately, his Northern supporters were critical of his stand; the abolitionists were particularly furious. The specific crisis raised by the admission of California was patched over by the Webster inspired Compromise of 1850. California was allowed to enter as a free state, however the Compromise also required the federal government to assist slave holders in returning runaway slaves, and prosecuting those who assisted them. This print, showing Webster addressing the Senate, is a fascinating historical document that wonderfully depicts the interior of the Senate Chamber. The Senators are shown at their seats and the fact that each face is drawn so accurately--making each man easily identifiable--suggests that the portraits were taken from photographs. Above the chamber hang the patriotic symbols of an eagle clutching the Union Shield and a portrait of Washington. $1,500

A newspaper contemporary with John Brown's Raid. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. December 24, 1859. 8 leaves folded as originally issued and uncut. Eight woodblock illustrations. Some staining and minor tears. 16 3/4 x 11 (overall dimensions).

Most illustrated newspapers from the nineteenth century survived because they were bound into annual volumes and placed into libraries and museums. Here is an exception because this single issue allows the owner/researcher to feel the weight of history as two men from John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry were executed soon after their capture. The bodies of John E. Cook and Edwin Cooper hang from a gallows in Charlestown, Virginia (now West Virginia) surrounded by a large contingent of soldiers. Besides scenes in the United States there are portraits of influential men involved with the insurrection in Port Au Prince as well as the United States. $125

Small historical engravings

Engravings made on steel plates, a process developed in the first part of the nineteenth century, allowed publishers to produce finely detailed images which could be run off in large numbers. These prints became the standard means of illustrating for books, magazines and even as separate prints. All sorts of publications on history, travel, or domestic subjects included these charming images which covered every imaginable subject. Historic scenes were particularly popular and so there are many very interesting steel engravings made from scenes of American and world history.

Below is a small sampling of the prints in our inventory. All are about 5 x 8 and in very good condition, except as noted. If you have an event of particular interest, please contact us to see if we might have a print of that subject.


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated March 6, 2018