This scarce view shows the city of Washington from the portico of the Capitol building. Published and sold by Casimir Bohn, this two-color lithograph is dated 1849. It was lithographed by E. Weber & Co., Baltimore. Early colored lithographs used one or two colors to tint the entire stone and create a watercolor-like tone to the image. This atmospheric effect was primarily used for landscape or topographical illustrations. For more detailed coloration, artists relied on hand coloring over the use of multi-color lithography, which only became popular in the second half of the 19th century.
In the main image of this print, DC’s iconic Pennsylvania Avenue is shown in the center right. In the far distance is the Washington Monument, shown in its original design. To the right is the National Observatory; to the left is the Smithsonian Institution. Surrounding the main image is a series of twenty vignette illustrations of prominent buildings and monuments of the time. These include two views of the Capitol, the White house, Navy Yard, Georgetown College, Aqueduct near Georgetown, Post Office, and more.
This view is referenced in Reps’ “Views and Viewmakers” #666; and Deak’s “Picturing America”#577. It can now be viewed and purchased at our Georgetown gallery.