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Wild Scenes and Song-Birds - WEBBER, Charles Wilkins (1819-1856) - 1854. 
New York: George P. Putnam & Co., 1854. - Tall 8vo., (10 Â¼ x 7 inches). Fine chromolithographed frontispiece, 19 chromolithographed plates with original tissue guards (occasional marginal spotting). Original publisher's brown cloth decorated in blind, the smooth spine in five compartments gilt-lettered in one (extremities a bit worn with slight loss). Provenance: Contemporary manuscript ownership inscription to flyleaf dated 1875. First edition. One of only two published works to contain chromolithographs after Alfred Jacob Miller, who is one of the three great early Western artists. The 5 chromolithographs after Miller all depict Native American scenes. The remaining 15 plates were drawn by Webber's wife. "Among the first true chromos of importance and the first set of chromo book illustrations . Some of their early work is of very great technical interest and extremely full of detail . Some [of their works] are quite rife with the true American spirit of lithography" (Peters, America on Stone, pp. 343-346). The plate of Indian Girl Swinging shows her bare-breasted, as called for in the first edition: "In the first edition, she appears, as in the Miller watercolor, bare-breasted. In at least some of the later printings, she has been provided with a blouse, probably in the name of nineteenth-century modesty" (Ron Tyler, ed., "Alfred Jacob Miller: Artist on the Oregon Trail," p. 449). "The American people were fascinated by the newly acquired western territories, but their visions and dreams of this vast dominion had been nurtured almost entirely by the printed word. Visual images were in demand. Alfred Jacob Miller was one of the first of the artist-explorers to meet this need. His sketches, gathered when he was on the trail, provided a rich heritage for his own and future generations Miller soon began an odyssey to make him the first artist to penetrate deep into the Rockies Unlike Seymour and Bodmer, Miller had little interest in the reportorial approach. He found his reward in rendering romantic scenes that became souvenirs of the journey for his patron. Neither artist nor client was much concerned with the documentation of fact; their interest lay rather in preserving the spirit of far-western life and its spectacular wild scenery" (Tyler, Alfred Jacob Miller, pp. 32-33). Phillips, American Sporting Books, p. 398. [Attributes: First Edition]
[Bookseller: Arader Galleries - Aradernyc]
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