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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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Hill-Smith: Philadelphia ca. 1870
John Rubens Smith. "Philadelphia." From John H. Hinton's The History and Topography of the United States of North America. Second American Edition. Boston: 1843. 5 1/4 x 8. Steel engraving by J. Archer. Second state. Excellent condition.

John Rubens Smith, an English immigrant, was one of the more important American artists of the early nineteenth century, known for his drawings, engravings, and teaching. Smith was from an artistic family which included his father, John Raphael Smith, artist and mezzotint engraver and publisher, who provided his earliest education. Much of John Rubens Smith's best work is of American cities and landscape, from South Carolina to New England. This interesting view of Philadelphia, where Smith resided for a time, is one of the better views of the city waterfront, showing the skyline and shipping activity from Kensington. From its initial publication about 1834, through it various manifestations towards mid-century, this was one of the most popular views of Philadelphia. This is a fine example of the second state, engraved by J. Archer. $125



Trotting Cracks in Philadelphia
"Trotting Cracks of Philadelphia Returning from the Race at Point Breeze Park, having a brush past Turner's Hotel, Rope Ferry Road, Philadelphia, 1870." Philadelphia: H. Pharazyn, 1870. 16 1/2 x 27 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Marginal tears and some chips; one tear and small hole in title area. All expertly conserved. Overall, very good condition and appearance. America On Stone: p. 325.

A rare and delightful print "respectfully dedicated to the Lovers of Horses and the Sporting Public in general." It shows a 17 "lovers of horses" driving their trotting cracks past Turner's Hotel in south Philadelphia. Turner's Hotel was owned by John C. Turner, a professional trotter driver and sportsman. It was located on Rope Ferry Road and the trotting cracks were passing by after having been at a race at Point Breeze Park. The hotel had a large barn for horses and carriages, shown in the background, and its patrons, shown watching the trotters, obviously shared Turner's enthusiasm for horses and trotting cracks. It is interesting that the artist is not given, but each of the horses is identified. As Peters says, "Those were the days when horses were far more important than artists. $2,800



Harper's Weekly Centennial Fair
Theodore R. Davis. "Bird's-Eye View of Philadelphia." New York: Harper's Weekly, June 15, 1872. 19 1/2 x 29 5/8. Wood engraving. A few expertly repaired tears. Else, very good condition. Prints of Philadelphia: 209.

During the Civil War, illustrated newspapers, like Harper's Weekly, provided the public with current and accurate pictures of the war. These newspapers continued to document the events, scenes, and personages of the following years. Most of the prints that appeared in the papers were taken from on-the-spot drawing made by staff illustrators. This dramatic bird's eye view was drawn by Theodore R. Davis and issued as a supplement for Harper's Weekly. It shows Philadelphia extending from the Delaware River in the foreground to the Schuylkill and beyond in the distance. Streets and buildings are accurately depicted, and major sites are carefully illustrated and named. Among the details shown are the Chestnut Street bridge, built in 1866, and the newly extended Fairmount Park. A concert-going crowd outside the Academy of Music is rendered with very fine engraving. This print provides an excellent view of the city, one that was distributed to a wide public. $650



Harper's Weekly Philadelphia City Hall
F.B. Schell. "The New Philadelphia City Hall." New York: Harper's Weekly, July 5, 1884. 20 x 13 1/2. Wood engraving. Small stain at centerfold, otherwise very good condition. Prints of Philadelphia: 261.

Philadelphia city government was housed in Independence Hall during the first part of the nineteenth century. By 1868 the facilities were clearly inadequate and so a commission was appointed to design a new city hall next to the old State House. A public outcry forced cancellation of these plans and in 1870 a vote was held to determine whether to locate the new building at Washington Square or Penn Square. The result was narrowly in favor of the latter. An elaborate Victorian edifice was designed by John McArthur Jr., assisted by Thomas U. Walter. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1874, and the structure took years to build, costing $25 million. It was finally opened in 1881, at which time it was the largest office building in the world. This excellent print shows City Hall from a bird's eye perspective. In the top corners and along the bottom are smaller images showing other views of the building. This is one of the best prints of this impressive structure, which still stands as a proud centerpiece for the city. $475



City Hall
After photograph by Frederick F. Gutekunst, Jr. "City Hall, Philadelphia." Philadelphia: F. Gutekunst, ca. 1899. Phototype. Ca. 18 x 20. Very good condition.

A superb "phototype" print produced by famous Philadelphia photographer, Frederick F. Gutekunst, Jr. (1831-1917). Gutekunst, born in Germantown, was an early daguerreian, opening a gallery and studio in 1856 with his brother Lewis, and working as a photographer from then until the early twentieth century. He developed a process, which he called "phototyping," of creating a printing matrix from his photographs. This is fine example of his output, issued probably shortly before the William Penn statue was added to the tower of City Hall (November 1894), as the statue appears to be drawn, rather than taken from a photograph. A rare and wonderful image of City Hall. $1,200



Jamison: Shoemaker Mansion
L.H. Jamison. "Shoemaker Mansion." 1903. Photo engraving. 11 1/2 x 18 5/8 (image). Small chip in upper left and short crease top center. Otherwise very good condition.

Believed to have been erected by Isaac Schumacher [Shoemaker] (born 1669 in Germany, immigrated 1686, died 1732 in Germantown) and demolished c. 1840, this Germantown Avenue house stood at the northeast corner of Penn Street (formerly known as Shoemaker's Lane), currently 5301-5303 Germantown Avenue. The land on which the house stood was part of the German Township's "Lot Number 8 Towards Bristol," originally granted in 1689 to Gerhard Heinrichs [Hendricks] whose daughter Sarah married Isaac in 1693.

Notable Shoemaker descendants who owned the house were Isaac's son Benjamin (1704-1767) and his son Samuel (1725-1800), each of whom served as Philadelphia Mayor, City Treasurer and member of the Provincial Council, among other offices. (Keyser, et. al, History of Old Germantown [1907], Hotchkin, Ancient and Modern Germantown, Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill [1889].)

Interestingly, the main entrance to the house was in the rear. The street entrance as shown was directly into the cellar, thus making the house appear a full story taller than it actually was.

Nothing is known of Jamison, other than that the historic house museum "Stenton" possesses a small, framed 1899 sketch of the Stenton landscape by the artist. $600



Exilious Pennsylvania Hospital
John G. Exilious. "South East View of Pennsylvania Hospital." Philadelphia, 1814. Restrike ca. 1920s? 11 5/8 x 18 1/4. Engraving by Exilius. Printer C.P. Harrison. Full margins. Mounted on board, otherwise excellent condition. Ref: Phillips, Maps and Views of Philadelphia: 274; Drepperd, Early American Prints, p.94; Thomas G. Morton, The History of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1895), pp. 328-30.

A rare, and finely executed engraving of Pennsylvania Hospital by local landscape painter John G. Exilius, who worked in Philadelphia from 1810 to 1814. In 1810, he was one of the founders of the Society of Artists. This view of Pennsylvania Hospital is his largest and finest engraving. It shows the hospital from the south east, with the entire building nicely illustrated behind its brick wall. In the foreground Exilius has included an interesting street scene, with a sick man being carried into the hospital by three men. Below the image is a remarque vignette of the Good Samaritan, under which is the caption, "Take care of him and I will repay thee." Exilius had previously been a patient at the hospital, and he seems to have produced this print as a financial venture. The cost of the project was $250, and 80 impressions were originally made.

The plate exists today at the Pennsylvania Hospital, and restrikes have been struck from it over the decades. Judging from the paper used, the strength of the impression, and the age of this one, it was struck in the early twentieth century. The 1920s is the most appropriate time for this kind of activity to have taken place since prints and reproductions were very popular in the decade between World War I and the Great Depression. $675



McIntire: NW Corner Broad & Chestnut 1850
H. B. McIntire. "N.W. Corner Broad and Chestnut Sts. 1850." 1935. 8 1/4 x 6 7/8 (sight). Aquatone process. Signed and dated in image by artist. With original labels describing the buildings and their history. Framed. Very good condition.

Henry B. McIntire (1872-1963) was an architectural illustrator flourishing in Philadelphia from the 1930s through the 1950s. He was active in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and prepared checklists of the historical prints in the collection (published in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography in 1942) as well as a listing of holdings of the drawings and watercolors of David J. Kennedy. He published in a lithographic process that he called "aquatone" to produce new prints of historical subjects that resembled old lithographs. They are soft and lovely with an attention to historical detail. $650



Falter: Chestnut Hill Station 1890
John Falter. "Chestnut Hill Station - 1890." [1975]. 12 1/4 x 16 (image). Color screen print. Very good condition. Framed.

John Falter (1910-1982) was an American illustrator and painted pictures, which have been compared to Norman Rockwell's works. Rockwell even considered him "America's most gifted illustrator." Falter was born in Nebraska and after high school studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York. During World War II, he designed more than three hundred war posters. However, Falter is mainly known for his one hundred and eighty five magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post, which he produced from 1942 to 1969. Falter also executed work for other publications such as Ladies Home Journal, McCall's, Life and Look as well as advertising illustrations for several companies. Towards the end of his life, Falter resided in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. He was elected to the Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1976 and was a member of the National Academy of Western Art. After his death in 1982, there was an exhibit done in Falter's honor at the Nebraska State Museum of History in 1983, which included a recreation of his studio and an exhibit featuring many of his work. A number of Falter's paintings can be found at the Nebraska State Historical Society. $400



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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated February 17, 2017