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QUEBEC, THE CAPITAL OF NEW-FRANCE, A BISHOPRICK, AND SEAT OF THE SOVERAIN COURT.Engrav'd & Printed By Thos. Johnston for Step. Whiting.
[Boston. 1759]. - Copper engraving, 7 x 9 inches, on an approximately 9 1/2 x 12-inch sheet. Corners chipped, with minor paper loss, not affecting image. A few short marginal closed tears, neatly repaired. Some scattered dust soiling, a bit of stray ink along plate mark. A very good copy. In a half morocco box. One of the rarest and most important early American engravings, Thomas Johnston's view of Quebec is "the most important engraved view of that city, as well as the earliest executed by an American" (Deák). The view was prepared in conjunction with the British campaign against Canada, and was first advertised for sale in the BOSTON GAZETTE on Aug. 13, 1759, little more than a month before the French stronghold surrendered on Sept. 17. A key identifies twenty prominent sites which illustrate the importance of the capture. The involved publication history of the print reaches back forty- four years prior to its American appearance. A variation of the view first appeared in Paris about 1715, with the imprint of "A Paris, Chez Jean Crepy," and under the title of QUEBEC, VILLE CAPITAL DU CANADA OU NOUVELLE FRANCE, LE SIEGE D'UNE EVESQUE ET D'UNE COUR SOUVERAINE. The title is followed by an eight-line description of the history of the settlement of New France, and this is in turn followed by a key to the twenty numbered buildings on the print. About the same time, circa 1715-20, it appeared under a different imprint, "A Paris Chez Chereau," with a slightly different title, reading QUEBEC, CAPITALE DE LA NOUVELLE FRANCE, EVESCHE, ET SIEGE DE COURT SOUVERAINE, with the key to the numbered views, but without the history of the settlement. The third, and last, of the three early appearances, again about the same period or slightly later, was published by N. Bonnart in Paris. It is the most curious of the three, in that the image is reversed (that is, a mirror image of the other two). Since Bonnart's view is the one that is geographically reversed, it is clear that he copied his print from one of the earlier two finished prints, but not from a copper plate. Bonnart retained the title and the key as they appear on the Chereau view, suggesting that this is the one he copied. The earliest appearance of this view in English appears to be the inset view of Quebec on the Popple map of 1733 and later editions. The origin of the view is a bit confusing. Stokes & Haskell attribute it to De Fonville's manuscript map of 1699, while Clarence Webster attributes it to Jean- Baptiste Louis Franquelin's manuscript map, also done in 1699. Thomas Johnston was one of the most important and best known 18th- century colonial American engravers. In addition to this famous view of Quebec, he was responsible for many important maps and views produced in Boston during the 18th century, including William Burgis' map of Boston (1728), John Bonner's map of Boston (fourth state of 1732), John Greenwood's PROSPECT OF YALE COLLEGE (1749), and Samuel Blodgett's PLAN OF THE BATTLE FOUGHT NEAR LAKE GEORGE (1755). Like many early American craftsmen, Johnston was a jack of all trades. Sinclair Hitchings describes him as a "Boston house painter and decorator, japanner, engraver, painter of coats of arms, church singer, publisher of singing books and pioneer New England builder of organs.Johnston would see to the painting of your garden fence or sitting room, sell you gilt paper for a screen, color and varnish your wall maps, sell you a frame for a picture, paint a bedstead for you, stain and varnish a table." In addition, Hitchings speculates that he was a significant early colonial portrait painter (pp.83-85). Johnston considered himself first and foremost a japanner of furniture, and he so describes himself on his trade card of 1732 (reproduced by Hitchings, plate 37). For "Thomas Johnston, Japaner," see George Francis Dow, AMERICAN FURNITURE, QUEENE ANNE AND CHIPPENDALE PERIODS, IN THE HENRY FRANCIS DU PONT WINTERTHUR MUSEUM, item 187; also page xiv and item 188. Johnston's view of Q
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
Last Found On: 2018-01-18           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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