Thomas Pownall, born in England in 1722, served in North America in various official positions between 1753 and 1760, including Governor of Massachusetts and South Carolina. During this time, Pownall travelled about colonies, keeping a journal and making sketches of the sites he visited. Upon his return to England, Pownall hired Paul Sandby, the drawing master at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, England, to work with him on producing a set of engraved scenes based upon Pownall's sketches. This set was entitled Six Remarkable Views in the Provinces of New-York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in North America, and it was first published in 1761. In 1768 these prints were incorporated into Scenographia Americana, a portfolio containing twenty-eight prints by Pownall and other artists. The engraving of the prints in these series is superb, with texture, lighting, and motion all conveyed with remarkable vividness. It is interesting to note that these prints appear to have been issued only in black & white, thus allowing the full appreciation of the engraving technique. This print shows the Moravian community of Bethlehem, where a group of religious exiles from Bohemia and Moravia settled in 1740-41. The Moravians industriously built a cohesive and orderly community, its European style buildings seeming to spring wondrously from the wilderness. Bethlehem soon gained the reputation as an almost ideal frontier settlement, and it was visited and admired by many European visitors in the eighteenth century, and even into the nineteenth century. This image well displays the prosperous and orderly appearance of the Moravian community before the American Revolution. $3,600
"Cottage Scene" After a landscape by William Redmore Bigg. "C[ornelius] Tiebout Sculpt." Stipple engraving. Philadelphia, circa 1800 to 1810. 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 (image) plus margins. Conserved. Backed for strength and to flatten an old horizontal bend near the tree top. Stauffer, 3207.
This scene can be classified as Americana because it depicts an American ideal. Cornelius Tiebout (1773-1832) had a little known but fascinating career as an engraver in the early American republic. His earliest work was done in New York City in 1789 when he learned engraving from a silversmith. In the first decade of the new nation he produced patriotic prints, and in 1793 he travelled to London where he studied under James Heath and learned stipple engraving. Having participated in the London art community, he returned to New York in 1796 where he worked for three years, then moved to Philadelphia where he was active and influential for at least twenty five years. In 1825 he and his daughter Caroline moved to New Harmony, Indiana where they produced beautiful natural history prints for Thomas Say's volumes illustrating insects and shells.
This depiction of a British cottage scene after a painting by the English artist William Redmore Bigg (1755-1828) shows Tiebout at his artistic best as he raised his work above bank note engraving. As Tiebout was returning to Philadelphia at the turn of the century, the Romantic, Irish poet Thomas Moore was said to have stayed in a rustic cabin and wrote a poem beginning with the line, "Alone by the Schuylkill a wanderer rov'd." The story and site is generally considered fictitious, but it makes a lovely story in and of the time while providing Tiebout with a fine genre print. See Joseph Jackson. Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, pp. 896-7. $600
"The Great bend of the Susquehanna River, in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania." From The Port Folio. Philadelphia, 1811. 4 3/8 x 5 1/2. Engraving. Very good condition.
An early American engraving from The Port Folio. This was a new type of American magazine, "Devoted to Useful Science, the Liberal Arts, Legitimate Criticism, and Polite Literature." It was a product of the new century, appearing first in January 1801. It began as a weekly issue until 1809, when it became monthly until its demise at the end of 1827. As with the many magazines that followed it, The Port Folio contained numerous illustrations, including this interesting view of the "Great Bend" on the Susquehanna River in upstate Pennsylvania. The fine views from The Port Folio are some of the most unusual and early American-made views of the country, and they form an important series of documents from the first three decades of the nineteenth century. $150
Go to listing of other views of Pennsylvania from The Port Folio.
From The Analectic Magazine. Philadelphia: 1819-20. Very good condition.
In 1812, Philadelphia bookseller and publisher Moses Thomas purchased a monthly magazine entitled Select Reviews, engaged Washington Irving as editor, and renamed the publication The Analectic Magazine. Irving, his brother-in-law J. K. Paulding, Gulian C. Verplanck and, later, Thomas Isaac Wharton wrote much of the material, which concentrated on literary reviews, articles on travel and science, biographies of naval heroes, and reprints of selections from British periodicals. Illustration "was one of the magazine's chief distinctions. Not only were there the usual engravings on copper, but some of the earliest magazine experiments in lithography and wood engraving appeared here. The plates were chiefly portraits, though some other subjects were used." (Mott, A History of American Magazines).
Thomas Birch. "View of the Water Gap and Columbia Glassworks River Delaware." Philadelphia, ca. 1820. 12 5/8 x 19 1/8. Engraving by William Strickland. Hand watercolor. A few light age spots. Strong impression.
A lovely early engraving by two of America's most prominent craftsmen of the first part of the nineteenth century. Thomas Birch is well remembered both for his work with his father on the series of views of Philadelphia and independently, for his achievements as a painter and engraver. William Strickland has been immortalized in a group of impressive architectural monuments that he designed, which helped define the character of early 19th-century Philadelphia. Although best known as an architect, to supplement his income, Strickland also worked as a painter and engraver. The success of his collaboration with Birch is evident here. $1,500
Karl Bodmer. "Penitentiary Near Pittsburgh." From Travels In the Interior of North America in the Years 1832 to 1834. London: Ackermann and Company, 1843. Vignette ca. 7 1/2 x 10 3/4. Aquatint. Engraved by L. Weber. Printed by de Bougeard. Excellent condition.
Karl Bodmer, (1809-1893), is considered by many authorities to be the greatest 19th-century artist to have produced prints of the American west. Bodmer and his patron, Prince Maximilian of Wied, came to America from Germany in 1832. With Bodmer in charge of the pictorial documentary, Prince Maximilian, an experienced and respected traveler and naturalist, set out to put together as complete a study as possible of the western territories of the United States. The result was the publication of Maximilian's journals in successive German, French, and English editions between 1839 and 1843, and with it, a picture atlas of eighty-one aquatint plates after paintings by Bodmer. This picture volume is now regarded as one of the most comprehensive and finest visual surveys of the western territories ever made. Soon after Prince Maximilian and Bodmer's arrival in the United States, the party toured the Eastern United States. As the prince collected biological specimens, Bodmer would illustrate the countryside and occasionally, the specimens themselves. This is Bodmer's image of the penitentiary at Pittsburgh. $925
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Prints from I. Daniel Rupp's The History of Lancaster County. Lancaster: G. Hills, 1844. Lithographs. Ca. 4 x 6 3/4. Very good condition.
A rare and important series of lithographed views of Lancaster County sites. The name of the artist of the images does appear on the prints, but it is not readable (it appears to be something like "P.S. Getz"). The lithographs are by T. Sinclair of Philadelphia, one of the important American lithographers of this early period. The prints are detailed and presumably accurate.
A wonderful view of the upper Delaware River, along the Pennsylvania/New Jersey or perhaps Pennsylvania/New York border. A group of farmers are shown in their field on the alluvial plain, cutting the crop while a small figure appears to ready some refreshment. Charming and unusual. $750
"Beaver Heights. (Near Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.)" From The Ladies' Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted To Literature and Religion. Cincinnati: May 1854. Octavo. Steel engraving. Very good condition.
A fine view of western Pennsylvania from Ladies' Repository. This one shows the Beaver River near to where it runs into the Ohio River. $110
From The Aldine. New York. Wood engravings. 9 x 12 3/4. Very good condition.
The Aldine. An American Art Journal (1868-79), was started as a house organ for a New York firm of printers, but became a general magazine devoted to art and typography under the editorship of R.H. Stoddard (1871-75). It was filled with wood engravings based on art by some of the best American artists of the day, including most famously Thomas Moran, after whose work thirty-nine prints were made. Many of these, and images by other artists, featured American western landscape, increasing the awareness among the public of the beauty of this region.
B.F. Smith Jr. "Pittsburgh and Allegheny," From The Ladies' Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted To Literature and Religion. Cincinnati: April, 1854. Engraving by W. Wellstood. 4 1/4 x 7 1/4. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 51.
An unusual and scarce steel engraving 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 steel engravings. Many had a religious or "genre" theme, but others 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 steel engravings of the period. Some of the views are based on images by W.H. Bartlett, but others are taken either from some of the large folio views of the period or are drawn first hand for The Ladies' Repository. This view was based on a large bird's eye view by B.F. Smith, Jr. Whatever their source, these prints are among the most interesting and hard-to-find American views of the middle of last century. $165
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James Queen. "Explosion of the Alfred Thomas at Easton Pa. March 6th. 1860." Easton: Bixler & Corwin, Easton Pa, 1860. Chromolithograph by P.S. Duval & Son. 12 1/4 x 20 3/4. Excellent condition. Deàk: 755; Reps: 3391.
A rare print of a disaster in Easton, Pennsylvania in 1860. The Alfred Thomas was a small passenger steamship built to run on the Delaware River between Belvidere, New Jersey and Port Jervis, New York, a distance of about 60 miles. Thomas Bishop of Easton was hired to build the hull and Mr. Wells of the South Easton Works commissioned for the steam engine and machinery. The ship, constructed at Easton, was completed and after some trials was declared ready for its maiden voyage. On Tuesday morning, March 6th, the Alfred Thomas set off from Easton, filled with an official party of about 100 passengers and watched by many spectators along the shore. After sailing down the Lehigh and then starting up the Delaware toward Belvidere, the Alfred Thomas moored near the Northampton Street Bridge to let off many of the passengers. The boat, with about 40 remaining passengers, then started upriver but had to put in to shore in order to build up enough steam to proceed against the current. As it set off again, the boiler, which had been brought to full pressure, suddenly erupted in a huge explosion, throwing the passengers far into the air and totally wrecking the boat. The chaos that followed was terrible. "The scene on shore after the explosion, it is altogether impossible to describe. Women, who were fearful that their relations were on board, ran up and down almost distracted, questioning almost every one they met in regard to the dreadful affair." (New York Times, March 7, 1860.) Many were seriously injured and twelve died, including two of the three owners of the boat. This print shows that explosion and it was said to have been based on a "Sketch from Nature" by James Queen, who likely visited the site shortly after the event. It is a classic "disaster" print, the moment of explosion sensationally depicted, with the city of Easton depicted in the left background. It is also a very nice example of the work of the important American artist James Queen and of the chromolithographic work of Philadelphia printmaker, P.S. Duval & Son. $1,800
Prints from The Life of Robert Fulton. Philadelphia, ca. 1860. Tinted lithographs by I.N. Rosenthal. Ca 4 1/2 x 7 3/4. Very good condition.
Illustrated newspapers of the second part of the 19th century are among the best sources for lively, informative images of America at the time. Each issue of these popular periodicals was filled with popular genre scenes, detailed historical prints, sporting scenes, and accurate, contemporary views. Without television, easy access to photography or modern printing and transmission techniques, these prints were the only means by which much of the country had access to visual images of the people, events and places in other parts of the country and around the world.
Views of Quakertown by Loren James. Twentieth century. Etchings. 5 x 8. Signed and title in pencil. Very good condition.
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