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This print is a perspective view, or "vue d'optique," a special type of popular print published in Europe during the eighteenth century. These prints were a form of entertainment meant to be viewed through a device called an "optical machine" or an "optique." This machine used a lens to enhance for viewers the magnification and perception of three-dimensional depth of the prints. A mirror was often used so that the perspective prints could be viewed when laid flat, and this meant the image was viewed in reverse. The most characteristic feature of the perspective views is their emphasized linear perspective, done to further intensify the enhanced appearance of depth and illusionistic space in the prints when viewed through an optique. When displayed in the optique, the prints were able to transport the viewer into a far away place---an unknown city, or perhaps into the midst of a dramatic bit of contemporary history. Another attribute of these prints is their bright, often crude hand coloring, applied boldly so to show the tints when viewed through the lens. This image shows the cathedral in the center of Mexico City and it is a rare and delightful view from near the end of the eighteenth century. $750
Hermann Moll. "The Indians Marching on a Visit or to a Feast." From Modern History: or, the Present State of All Nations . . .. By Mr. Salmon. Illustrated with Cuts and Maps . . . by Hermann Moll. Published in three folio volumes circa 1740s in London. Time toned; else very good condition.
A plate showing Brazilian natives in the 18th century by Hermann Moll (d. 1732). Moll was a Dutchman who arrived in London in 1678 where he worked as an engraver for many mapmakers. Around the year 1700 he established his own publishing house and produced maps and books with a strong tendency toward geographical works. Plates from his earlier works depicting foreign lands and peoples continued to be published until the mid-eighteenth century as part of a growing English presence in European graphic arts. $45
From Antonio de Ulloa and Jorge Juan y Santacilla. Voyage Historique de l'Amerique Meridionale. Amsterdam and Leipzig, 1752. Quarto. Engravings. Sabin, 36812.
Ulloa's and Juan y Santacilla's narrative was by two Spanish members of an important mid-eighteenth century scientific expedition to South America. Under the auspices of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, an expedition was sent to Peru in 1735 under the command of Charles La Condamine to take an exact measurement of a degree of longitude. The King of Spain lent his support to the venture by sending along Don Ulloa and Don Juan. This expedition completed its task under conditions of unequalled difficulty, and the story of the trip provides fascinating reading. Here is one of the prints which appeared in one of the many editions published in the eighteenth century.
"Various Boats, Barks &c. used in the Rivers and on the Coasts of Peru in South America." London, ca. 1790. Engraving on laid paper.
Prints and maps from collections of Cook's and other explorers' voyages, provided contemporary and accurate images from this great episode in the European exploration of our world. $60
Mrs. H.G. Ward. "Guadalaxara." From Henry George Ward's Mexico in 1827. London: H. Colburn, 1828. Aquatint by John Pye. Original hand color. Old crease from top to bottom. Otherwise, excellent condition.
A lovely view from what Street calls a classic study of Mexico in 1827. This illustration is based on a life drawing of Gaudalaxara by Mrs. Henry G. Ward, the wife of the author of the volume. It shows the town in the distance, setting it in its lovely surrounding. The detail and color are beautifully done, making this not only an early view of Mexico, but also a lovely one. $225
Carl Nebel. From Picturesque and Archeological Voyage over the Most Intriguing Part of the Mexican Republic. Lemercier, Paris: 1836-39. Lithographs. Full original hand color. Very good condition.
Carl Nebel was a German artist who is known for his earky drawings of Mexican landscapes and architecture and later his wonderful views of battles of the Mexican American War. Nebel was one of the first artists to visit Mexico to record the ancient ruins between 1829 and 1834. When completed this publication totaled fifty hand colored lithographs. These prints are not only remarkably accurate, but they are beautifully drawn and superbly produced.
This facsimile print which depicts women making tortillas is most likely from the 1848 Mexican edition of Nebel's views of Mexico. This print is slightly different in composition than the one that appeared in the first edition which was published in Paris between 1836 and 1839. $75
"City of Mexico. From the Convent of San Cosme." New York: N. Currier, 1847. Lithograph. Original hand color. 8 x 12 1/4. Denver.
A charming Currier view of Mexico City from a convent on the outskirts of the city. $450
From Die Fünf Welttheile dargestefft in Bild & Wort. Hildburghausen: Bibliographischen Instituts, ca. 1850. Steel engravings. Very good condition.
From 1833 to 1864, the Bibliographischen Institut of Hildburghausen, Germany, issued a journal, entitled Meyer's Universum, containing text and steel engravings of all parts of the world. Around 1850 they issued a volume entitled Die Fünf Welttheile dargestefft in Bild & Wort which contained many of the same images, as well as expanded text and some maps. This business was founded by Joseph Meyer, who was later joined by his son Herrmann. Joseph admired the United States and in 1849 he sent his son to New York to set up an American branch of their publishing business, the North American Bibliographic Institution. Herrmann issued an American edition of the Universum (New York: H.J. Meyer; first volume, 1852; second volume 1853.), as well as a new illustrated series called The United States Illustrated. After the death of his father in 1856, Herrmann Meyer returned to Germany and assumed control of the Bibliographischen Institut, which is still in business today. The images issued by this firm are considerably scarcer than other steel engraved views of the period and while some are copied from other sources, such as William Bartlett, others offer unusual and unique, first hand images of different parts of the world.
From Meyer's Universum. New York: Herrmann J. Meyer, 1852. Steel engravings. Very good condition.
A set of rare, contemporary views of Upper and Lower California during the Gold Rush. These charming lithographs were issued in A Pictorial View of California, which claimed to have "Information and Advice Interesting To All, Particularly Those Who Intend To Visit The Golden Region." Cooper, the artist of these images, went to California and visited most of the major sites on the west coast and present-day Mexico, returning to New York to produce the images for this guide issued in 1853. These images were some of the earliest accurate and first-hand images those on the East Coast would have had of Baja California, and the rest of Mexico. The lithographs were drawn by J. Cameron, better known for his work with Currier & Ives, and Brown & Severin. Given their immediacy and accuracy these are historical artifacts of some note.
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E.J. Meeker. [Scenes around Cuba.]. 19 grisaille drawings, circa. 1925. Each about 11 x 17 (image) on boards 15 x 20. Gouache & watercolor on illustration board. Some staining and chipping in margins; images clean except where noted. All are signed "E. J. Meeker" with watercolors. Set for $38,000
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