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Picturesque Views of American Scenery: Engraved by Hill. From drawings by Joshua Shaw, Landscape Painter. No. 1 [wrapper title]
Philadelphia: M. Carey & Son, 1820. Folio. (22 x 15 inches). 7 handcolored engraved plates, engraved by Hill after Shaw. 7 leaves of text (Introduction and leaf of explanation for each plate). Original lettered wrappers, verso of the front wrapper and the recto and verso of the rear wrapper list books imported or published by Carey & Son. Housed in a modern quarter morocco backed box. The complete first part of the rarest American colour plate book. Joshua Shaw was a noted English landscape painter who came to the United States in 1817. He conceived the idea of a published series of American views, which he executed over the next few years, and which were published in Philadelphia as a series of twenty plates titled Picturesque Views of American Scenery. In his introduction to Picturesque Views, Shaw emphatically declared that "in no other quarter of the globe are the majesty and loveliness of nature more strikingly conspicuous than in America." Yet he was baffled by the fact that few artists on either side of the Atlantic regarded American scenery as a subject of painterly merit. Shaw set about the task of converting the general public to the aesthetic concept of the picturesque. He intended to travel "through the different states, for the purpose of taking on the spot, the best and most popular Views ... in the course of his tour, he will visit nearly every State in the Union." Shaw envisioned publishing his sketches as a series of some 36 scenic prints and "occasional vignettes," to be issued in six numbers by subscription. The Philadelphia publisher Thomas Moses first undertook the ambitious project in 1819 but relinquished control to Mathew Carey the following year. For lack of subscribers, Shaw's work ceased production after the third number. Yet the compellingly poetic elements that typified his work, the breathtaking amplitude of his vistas and the evocative counterpoint of shadow and light, left an indelible mark on the depiction of nature in American art. The work is very rare: of the thirteen sets in American institutions, only nine are complete. Only two complete copies have appeared on the market in the last thirty-five years. The present part is from the 1820 second issue published by Mathew Carey. The plates (with accompanying text leaves) are as follow: 1) [Titlepage] 2) Washington's Sepulchre Mount Vernon 3) Jones' Falls Near Baltimore 4) View Near the Falls of Schuylkill 5) View Above the Falls of Schuylkill 6) View of the Spot where Gen. Ross Fell Near Baltimore 7) Falls of St. Anthony on the Mississippi Deák 315; Fielding 644662; Howes S345; Koke, Checklist of John Hill 3756; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 5; Stauffer 1343; Stokes III:567; Sabin 79935.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-16           Check availability:      Biblio    

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