|A Selection of Historical Prints||Charts of World History||Historical Cartoons|
|Allegories||Explorations||U.S. Army & Navy|
|Currier & Ives||Kurz & Allison||Marine Prints|
|George Washington||Abraham Lincoln||Other Presidents|
|Benjamin Franklin||Cartes de Visite|
of Lincoln and Contemporaries
|Napoleon Bonaparte and French History|
|Portraits of the Revolution||Portraits of the Civil War||Miscellaneous historical portraits|
|Events in American History|
|French & Indian War||American Revolution||War of 1812|
|Mexican-American War||Civil War||Spanish America War|
|American Philippine War||World Wars I & II|
|American Political Prints|
|English history||Revolt of the Netherlands||French Cavalry Prints|
A Selection of Interesting Prints:
John J. Barralet. "America Guided by Wisdom: An Allegorical representation of the United States, denoting their Independence and Prosperity." Philadelphia, ca. 1815. First state, previous to Stauffer, 3115. Engraving by Benjamin Tanner. 15 1/8 x 22 3/8. Good impression. Trimmed to platemark as usual. Very good condition. Fowble, 324.
The War of 1812 has often been called the "Second War of Independence," especially at the time. Following a series of naval victories and battles at Baltimore and New Orleans, Americans were infused with a new optimism based on a peace treaty that arranged for them to be left alone to develop their new country. This print uses symbols of republican virtues to express pride in the new country. Six lines of descriptive text explain that the focus is on Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom, who points to an escutcheon of the United States with the motto "Union and Independence," emblazoned on a shield held by America. Thrown down at their feet and behind them is a spear and shield with the visage of Medusa. To the right of this vignette is an equestrian statue of Washington at the entrance of a grand temple. To the left the god Mercury, representing commerce, points to proudly sailing ships to indicate his approval to the goddess Ceres, who holds wheat (a symbol of agriculture), while to her back are symbols of American industry: spinning, beekeeping, and plowing. This is a rich allegory to describe America.
We date this print at 1815 because that year marked the end of the War of 1812, and the message is appropriate for that time. Also, in that year Benjamin Tanner (1775-1848) entered a partnership with Vallance, Kearney & Company whose names are added to a later state of this print as described by David M. Stauffer. So the imprint, as well as the wonderfully strong lines, suggests that this printing is a first state. This print is after a drawing by John James Barralet (ca. 1747-1815), an Irish artist who came to Philadelphia about 1795. He had established a reputation as a landscape and historical artist in Dublin and London. When Barralet first arrived in Philadelphia he was hired as an engraver by Alexander Lawson and soon took up painting landscapes in and around Philadelphia. Among American engravers, Barralet is credited with inventing a ruling machine for work on bank notes. $3,200
Go to page with other allegories
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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. $1,400
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.
For more information call, write, fax or e-mail to:
8441 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118 USA
(215) 242-4750 [Phone]
(215) 242-6977 [Fax]
©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated July 23, 2016