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The Philadelphia Print Shop

Prints of Philadelphia

Views of Philadelphia have appeared in print ever since the eighteenth century,
and they present a fascinating graphic account of the history of the city.

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Spring Garden Commissioners Hall
Charles C. Kuchel. "Commissioner's Hall, Spring Garden." Philadelphia: John N. Henderson, 1851. 17 5/8 x 24 1/4. Lithograph by P.S. Duval. Original hand color. Repaired tear in sky and minor staining in margins. Otherwise, very good condition. Rare. Wainwright, p. 124; Peters, America on Stone, p. 258.

Several of the most celebrated and rarest nineteenth-century Philadelphia prints were the work of the Philadelphia lithographer P.S. Duval. Four ambitious views of the city that Duval produced in the early 1850s are of the finest quality and are now perhaps the most prized 19th-century prints of their type. This print of Commissioner's Hall, Spring Garden is the most scarce of the four views. Duval must not have printed very many of this image, for it is among the least seldom seen of all his wonderful 19th-century views of Philadelphia. This print depicts the City Hall of the Spring Garden district of Philadelphia County not long after the building's completion in 1848. This striking example of Greek Revival architecture was three stories tall, topped by an ornate clock tower. The building stood on the northwest corner of Thirteenth and Spring Garden and at the time was the most elegant commissioner's hall in the country. Spring Garden was first incorporated March 22, 1813. In the mid nineteenth century the district was characterized by extensive manufacturing establishments, such as the Baldwin and Norris Locomotive Work, Powers and Weightman Chemical, United States Mint, and many more. The Spring Garden District is now defunct as a government entity, ceasing to exist in 1854 after it, and other districts, were incorporated into the City of Philadelphia by the Act of Consolidation. $4,200

Northern Liberties Waterworks
Thomas M. Scott. "Northern Liberties & Spring Garden/Water Works." Philadelphia: P.S. Duval & Co., ca. 1852. 17 1/4 x 25 1/8 (image) plus full margins. Lithograph with hand coloring. Some slight staining from former wood slats when framed. One expertly repaired tear each to right and left margins. Overall appearance fine. Ref.: Wainwright, p. 174; Deak: 637; Prints of Philadelphia: 175.

Another of Duval's wonderful, large-folio Philadelhia views. The subject here is the dignified neo-Egyptian water works for the Northern Liberties and Spring Garden. These districts of Philadelphia County built their own water system because they felt there was an unfair surcharge for water from the Fairmount system. Interestingly, the artist of this print was a commissioner for the Northern Liberties. The structure was built about a mile above Fairmount and was completed in 1845. Water was pumped from here to a reservoir located near Girard College. In the print several incidental figures stroll by, a man pumps water perhaps for his waiting horse, and a canal boat is seen passing in the far distance. As is the case with the others of the Duval prints, these encounters with daily life add pleasing human interest, as well as valuable information about the economic and social patterns of the day. $3,500

William Strickland (?). "Masonic Hall Chesnut St. Philadelphia. Erected A.D. 1813. Destroyed by Fire A.D. 1819." Philadelphia: Wm. Spink, Wm. Kneass, & Philip R. Engard, 1853. Lithograph. 19 3/8 x 18 1/8. Printed by "D. Chillas, Lith. 50 S. 3rd. Street." Full original hand color. Third State. Tear extending into sky about 1 1/2 inch and tear in bottom margin expertly repaired. Otherwise, very good condition. See Snyder, Mirror of America: 508 for an earlier state; Wainwright: 229. Framed.

Masonic Hall was one of the first and best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States. Designed in brick and marble by William Strickland, this striking edifice located on Chestnut Street above Seventh burned in spectacular fashion in 1819 watched by a large crowd of spectators. This print, originally issued in 1813, was reprinted in 1853 by the publishers who were themselves Masons. This was possibly done to celebrate the completion of a new Masonic Hall on the same site. Due to its short history, few prints of this building were made and the only other large print depicts the burning. Even though the artist of this print is unknown, there is no doubt that he was heavily influenced by William Birch, who issued a series of views of Philadelphia a few years earlier. The probable artist is the architect - William Strickland. $1,250

Collins: Panorama of Philadelphia
Collins & Autenrieth. "Panorama of Philadelphia. Chestnut Street, East of Fifth." Philadelphia: Schnabel, Finkeldey & Demme, 1856. 7 x 10 1/2. Tinted lithograph. Printed by Schnabel, Finkeldey & Demme. One tiny spot in sky, else excellent condition. Wainwright 1: 263; Prints of Philadelphia: 182.

A print perhaps inspired by Rae's Chestnut Street Panorama of a few years before. Rae's volume was an advertising vehicle which illustrated the buildings along Chestnut Street from Second to Tenth. From the title of this print, it appears that Schnabel, Finkeldey & Demme may have intended to publish a similar series of street scenes to advertise the businesses shown in them. If this was their intent, the project was likely a failure, for few of these prints exist. A second state of this print, with the name M.H. Traubel & Co. replacing that of Schnabel, Finkeldey & Demme, labels this as "Plate 4." This indicates that there may be at least three other images from this series. The image of this print shows the south side of Chestnut at the corner of Fifth. On the second floor right side is Root's Daguerre-o-type Studio. Part of Congress Hall appears at the right, but the image centers on the five shops lining the block to the east. Pedestrians and carriages are depicted, but the focus of the scene is on the businesses. $675

Ripka Mills, Manayunk
William H. Rease. "Joseph Ripka's Mills. Manayunk 21st. Ward." From Atlas of America. New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1856. 18 1/2 x 30. Lithograph printed by Wagner & McGuigan. Very good condition. Prints of Philadelphia: 188; Wainwright: 211.

In 1856, J.H. Colton & Co. issued a Philadelphia commercial edition of its Atlas of America. Included amongst the many fine maps were advertisements for numerous Philadelphia firms. Several of the larger businesses purchased larger, double page illustrations of their businesses. These are amongst the most interesting and decorative trade ads of the period, and this ad, for Joseph Ripka's Mills, is one the best from the Colton atlas for it shows the town of Manayunk, now a very popular section of Philadelphia. In the mid-nineteenth century, Manayunk--which took its name from the Indian word meaning "place of drinking"--was a very prosperous mill town. It had its origins in the dam, canal and locks built by the Schuylkill Navigation Company in 1821. The regular use of this canal, the steady stream of water power, and the easy transportation to Philadelphia and markets further afield created a good business climate for the mill owners of Manayunk. Joseph Ripka, "Manufacturer of all descriptions of Plain & Fancy Cottanades For Men & Boy's Clothing," had set up his mills in Manayunk in 1831 and by the time of this print he was the largest cotton manufacturer in the United States. His mills are depicted from a vantage point on the west bank of the Schuylkill, with the growing town surrounding them. On top of the ridge behind the mills is the shown the then small community of Roxborough. A wonderful industrial image and the most desirable view of Manayunk. $1,750
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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

George Lehman. "The Great Elm Tree of Shackamaxon (Now Kensington)." [Philadelphia, ca. 1829]. Second state; Philadelphia: William Smith, ca. 1860+. Aquatint by G. Lehman. Full hand color. Very good condition. Framed. Prints of Philadelphia: 79; Fielding: 951; Fowble: 258; Snyder: Mirror, 589.

George Lehman, a native of Lancaster, moved to Philadelphia where he became a noted artist, engraver, lithographer and publisher. Perhaps his first work of importance is this lovely view of Philadelphia from Kensington. Though this scene is similar works by William Birch and John James Barralet, Lehman drew his own image of this popular view-point. The famous Treaty Tree stands majestically in the center of the image, with the bustling port of Philadelphia seen in the distance beneath the tree's branches. There are many boats on the river, and a sailing ship is being constructed on the beach at left. A number of pedestrians are shown in the foreground, including an artist sitting beneath the tree making a sketch. Interestingly, a family of goats seems to have lived around the Treaty Tree, for Barralet showed goats in his watercolor of 1796, and three goats are also shown in Lehman's view, one walking along a branch of the tree itself. $2,900

White's Cattle Show
J. L. Krimmel. "White's Great Cattle Show, and Grand Procession of the Victuallers of Philadelphia." Philadelphia: A. Clement, 1860-61. Third edition. 14 3/8 x 23 1/4. Lithographed on stone by L. Haugg. Printed by F. Bourquin & Co. Original hand coloring. Expertly repaired tears, some extending into image and title area. Otherwise, very good condition.

This splendid view of early Philadelphia prosperity was the work of a celebrated and popular artist of the period. John L. Krimmel was a native of Germany, who came to the United States in 1810, settling in Philadelphia, where he painted portraits, miniatures, and good-natured street and domestic scenes. This elaborate visual chronicle was one of his most celebrated works. It was an important enough painting to be taken over as the subject of three different prints, including this large and separately issued lithograph published around 1860. As the long caption to the print explains, the event being commemorated is the conveying to market of an especially fine and abundant 'harvest' of livestock. We are told that 100 carts were required to transport 86,731 pounds of beef, pork, lamb, etc., all of which was sold within 24 hours. The successful cattle merchants are named individually along with an account of their contributions. The significance of the event and the picture as the fruition of the city's economic success and encouragement of good works is summed up in the seal and motto, "We feed the hungry," that appears in the title line. $2,300

Sanitary Fair
James Queen. "Buildings of the Great Central Fair, in Aid of the U.S. Sanitary Commission." Philadelphia: P.S. Duval & Son., 1864. 12 3/8 x 26 1/4. Chromolithograph by J. Queen. Some staining in the margins. Printed title enhanced by hand. Otherwise, very good condition. With separate manuscript dedication note. Déak: 789; Prints of Philadelphia: 199; Wainwright: 35.

James Queen, a native Philadelphian, was an accomplished lithographic artist, P.S. Duval's principal draftsman. He drew views, disasters, portraits, music covers, advertisements, certificates, illustrations and any other subject Duval needed. During the Civil War, when artists were in short supply, Duval wrote to a friend: "James Queen is still with us and is now one of the best artists in the country." In June 1864, Philadelphia mounted the Great Central Fair to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which worked towards the relief of wounded and sick Union troops. Contributions for the fair were raised and temporary buildings were erected on Logan Square. This print depicts the fair buildings from the northwest, with the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul shown prominently on the far side. Two large rotundas are portrayed flanking the main exhibit hall, a vaulted gallery designed by Strickland Kneass that extended from Eighteenth to Logan (Nineteenth) Street. The fair lasted only three weeks, but it drew great crowds, especially during President Lincoln's visit on June 16th. The fair was a great success, raising over a million dollars for the cause.

Accompanying this print is the following manuscript note: "Presented to Wm. Stavely, Esq. in testimony of my appreciation of his valuable services as Chairman of the Bucks Co. Pa. Committee on Agriculture, Great Central Fair. Alfred L. Kennedy, Chairman General Committee on Agriculture, Philadelphia July 1, 1864." William Stavely was a respected Bucks County farmer who had a successful career in the printing business prior to his retiring to Bucks County. Alfred L Kennedy (1818-1896) was a physician, born and educated in Philadelphia. He studied civil and mining engineering and also medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. Kennedy was also a well know expert in medical chemistry and botany. During the Civil War he acted as a volunteer surgeon of the 2d army corps in the Gettysburg hospital, and in 1863 was commissioned colonel of volunteer engineers. He was vice president of the American Agricultural Congress and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society in 1876. $2,100

Mower Hospital
James Queen. "Mower U.S.A. General Hospital,/ Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia." Philadelphia: P. S. Duval, 1865. 11 3/4 x 20 1/2. Chromolithograph. Good margins. With repaired tear in bottom margin, extending into title area. Print conserved and line. Very good appearance and condition. Scarce.

James Queen, a native Philadelphian, was apprenticed as a lithographer to the firm of Lehman & Duval in 1835, when he was just fifteen. Queen soon became an accomplished lithographic artist, establishing himself as Duval's principal draftsman. He drew views, disasters, portraits, music covers, advertisements, certificates, illustrations and any other subject Duval needed. This is a refined print of one of the important Civil War hospitals located in Philadelphia. The bird's eye view gives us an excellent sense of the 47 building complex that once housed 4000 patients and was the largest such hospital in Philadelphia. The complex, designed by John McArthur, was bounded by Abington and Springfield Avenues, on a site that was opposite the present Wyndmoor Station. The highly skillful execution together with the impressive detail of daily comings and goings give the print great life and immense historical interest. One of only a few nineteenth century prints of Chestnut Hill. Ref.: Wainwright, p. 169. $1,400

Serz Philadelphia and Environs
John Serz. "Philadelphia and Environs/und Umgegend." Philadelphia: I.G. Kohler, ca. 1870(?). 14 1/4 x 21 1/2. Engraving by J. Serz. Original hand color. Excellent condition. Not in Reps.

A rare and very decorative bird's eye view of Philadelphia, drawn and engraved by John Serz. Serz came from Bavaria, first to New York City and then to Philadelphia in about 1850. He stayed in Philadelphia until his death, and during that 25 or so year period he engraved a number of historical plates along with numerous subjects of local interest. This print is very finely engraved, presenting a view of the developed area of the city in the center and the rural nature of the lands to the south and north, today completely transformed into an urban landscape. In the foreground is the Camden waterfront and the rivers are shown teaming with sailing and steam vessels. This print is difficult to date, though it was published by I.G. Kohler, a publisher, bookseller and book binder who was active from the 1870s to 1890s. One of the particularly interesting aspects of the print is the large number of railroad lines shown with steam engines chugging along. These railroads are identified along the edges, as are other features such as prominent buildings. There is also a decorative border, adding a final flourish to this fascinating and most attractive view of Philadelphia before the Centennial. $2,800

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Centre Square WaterworksFine art prints of Philadelphia
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