19th Century Prints, American Views, Aquatint, Citiscapes, Landscapes, Prints

William J. Bennett

William James Bennett (1787-1844) was a British born painter and engraver, known for his series of birds-eye views of American cities and a series of large aquatints of Niagara Falls. Born in London, Bennett studied at the Royal Academy schools, working under Westall to develop his landscape skills. He spent his late teens and early twenties traveling with the British military, first to Egypt and Malta, followed by a later appointment in Italy. His travels expanded his landscape and portraiture skills, gifting an invaluable opportunity for the young artist to sketch both ancient ruins and modern cities and capture landscapes of all visual varieties.

In 1808, Bennett became a founding member of the Associated Artists in Water Colours, and worked out of London for a time. Bennett later moved to the United States in 1826 and was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design just two years later, in 1828. At the Academy he exhibited watercolor landscapes and seascapes as well as his engravings.

From 1830-1840, Bennett produced a series of aquatint topographical city views. Based off paintings of his own and the work of others, this series was immensely successful. In his views Bennett “not only celebrated the beauty of the American landscape, he also recorded the young nation’s growing urban centers, from Boston, Buffalo, and Detroit to New Orleans and Mobile, with a special focus on New York. Bennett recorded the bustling waterfront activity of thriving ports bathed in a luminous light that unified water, ships, and architecture. Capturing the optimism of the new nation, these magnificent aquatints have been regarded as the finest folio views of 19th-century American cities, which set the stage for an independent American school of city views.” (NYPL link). Bennett later painted four views of Niagara Falls, two which became subjects for his own aquatints, two which were translated into aquatints by fellow engraver John Hill.

Below are three prints we have by Bennett, a stunning view of Richmond, a harbor scene of Boston, and (of course) a beautiful view of the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. We hope you enjoy these prints- all three are still available to view and purchase in our Georgetown location!

City of Washington: From beyond the Navy Yard. George Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, 1834. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 5/8 x 24 5/8". LINK.  One of the great views of the Nation's Capital. Washington is shown from the south bank of the Anacostia River. On the right is the Washington Navy Yard, est. 1799, behind is the original Capitol Building and to the left is the White House. REF: Deak 485, Stokes 1837 E-64.

City of Washington: From beyond the Navy Yard. By George Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, handcolored, 1834. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 5/8 x 24 5/8″. LINK.
One of the great views of the Nation’s Capital. Washington is shown from the bucolic south bank of the Anacostia River. On the right is the Washington Navy Yard, established in 1799. Behind is the original Capitol Building with the old dome. To the left sits the White House. REF: Deak 485, Stokes 1837 E-64.

Boston, from the Ship House, West End of the Navy Yard. By William J. Bennett. Published by Henry I. Megarey, New York. Handcolored aquatint, 1833.  Image size 15 5/8 x 24 1/8".  LINK.  William Bennett was both the artist and engraver of this delightful view of Boston. One of the great views of the city, Bennett was able to capture the bustling and dynamic nature of this port city at the beginning of the 19th century.

Boston, from the Ship House, West End of the Navy Yard. By William J. Bennett. Published by Henry I. Megarey, New York. Aquatint engraving, handcolored, 1833. Image size 15 5/8 x 24 1/8″. LINK.
William Bennett was both the artist and engraver of this delightful view of Boston. An attractive and colorful view of the city, Bennett was able to capture the bustling, dynamic nature of this port city at the beginning of the 19th century.

Richmond, from the Hill above the Waterworks. By Goegre Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, c. 1833. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 3/4 x 25 3/8". LINK. One of the rarest and most beautiful of Bennett's aquatints. Gloria Deak describes the print as "George Cooke's romantic celebration of Richmond's charms. . . His composition describes the winding path of the Kanawha Canal, embracing in its arc the waters of the James River, where closely clustered buildings rising from its banks define the human community. Grazing cows lend a pastoral touch, and elegant residents, sketched at their leisure on the wooded heights, are placed by the artist in the amphitheater like setting. . . ." Shown prominently is the Virginia State Capitol building which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. To the right is the Governor's mansion. To the left is City Hall (torn down in 1870) and the State Penitentiary which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe.

Richmond, from the Hill above the Waterworks. By George Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, handcolored, c. 1833. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 3/4 x 25 3/8″. LINK.One of the rarest and most beautiful of Bennett’s aquatints. Gloria Deak describes the print as “George Cooke’s romantic celebration of Richmond’s charms. . . His composition describes the winding path of the Kanawha Canal, embracing in its arc the waters of the James River, where closely clustered buildings rising from its banks define the human community. Grazing cows lend a pastoral touch, and elegant residents, sketched at their leisure on the wooded heights, are placed by the artist in the amphitheater like setting. . . .” Shown prominently is the Virginia State Capitol building which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. To the right is the Governor’s mansion. To the left is City Hall (torn down in 1870) and the State Penitentiary which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe. REF: Deak 420; Stokes 1833 E-58.

 

 

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16th Century Maps, 18th Century Maps, 19th Century Maps, 19th Century Prints, American Maps, American Views, Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Gallery Updates, Maps, Natural History, Old Print Gallery Showcase, Prints, World Maps

October 2015 Showcase- Read It Now!

Our October 2015 Showcase has been sent to those on our mailing list, and can now be viewed online (just click the link below). Highlights in this issue include 19th century city views, maps from Jacques N. Bellin’s 1764 maritime atlas, Denton fish prints, Winslow Homer illustrations, and prints from our two most recent gallery shows, 20th Century People and Monotypes.

Published in both traditional and digital media forms, we are now able to share our fantastic collection in a whole new way.  We are already working on our next issue, which should arrive in time for the 2015 holiday season. To receive our next Showcase, just send us your mailing information, via email.

OctoberShowcase2015Cover

The Old Print Gallery Showcase. Volume XXXVIII, October 2015.
Click To Read Online.

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19th Century Prints, American Views, Chromolithograph, Collage, Contemporary, Landscapes, Lithograph, Past/Present, Prints, Transfer print

Past/Present: Fall

Today is the first day of Fall, the autumnal equinox, “one of the two periods of the year when the sun crosses the equator and the days and nights are in equal length all over the earth” as explained by this article.  To celebrate this shift in seasons, we have a new Past/Present for you- two artists’ representations of autumn landscapes. The first is a 19th century depiction of the Starrucca Valley, located in Pennsylvania near Lanesboro. One of the few prints produced after a painting by Hudson River School artist Jasper Cropsey, this image was printed exclusively for members of the Crosby Opera House Art Association. We’ve paired it with a hand-colored transfer print and collage by contemporary printmaker Takayo Noda. We hope you enjoy these colorful celebrations of Fall!

Image on the top: American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R. Road. By Jasper Cropsey. Published by T. Sinclair’s Chromo Lith., Philadelphia. Lithographed by William Dresser. Chromolithograph, undated, c. 1870s. Image size 15 1/2 x 26 5/8″ (394 x 677 mm). LINK.

Image on the bottom : Autumn Day. By Takayo Noda. Transfer print, hand-colored, 2013. Three dimensional collage in areas. Signed, titled and inscribed “1/1.” Image size 6 7/8 x 9 5/8″ (175 x 243 mm). LINK.

American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R. Road. LINK.

American Autumn, Starucca Valley, Erie R. Road. LINK.

Autumn Day. LINK.

Autumn Day. LINK.

 

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New Additions: Henry Lewis Prints of the Mississippi

NEW ADDITIONS bannerNEW ADDITIONSWe recently added several lithographs from Henry Lewis’ DAS ILLUSTRIERTE MISSISSIPPITHAL (The Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated) to our collection. In the late 1840’s, Lewis traveled the length of the Mississippi and, with the assistance of other artists, assembled a collection of sketches detailing scenery of the entire river. Based on these drawings, he proceeded to paint a panorama on a continuous length of canvas, which would be moved and viewed through a frame.  The completed piece (hundreds and hundreds of feet in length) began its tour of American cities in the fall of 1848. Due to its popularity, a European tour quickly followed. While on tour in Dusseldorf in 1853, Lewis met and teamed up with the publisher Heinrich Arnz to redo the sketches as lithographs illustrating a book on Mississippi scenery. While production was sporadic and relatively unprofitable, the resulting seventy-eight lithographs provide an early and remarkably complete visual record of the Mississippi River.

Travelling Hunting Party. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

Travelling Hunting Party. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

Prairie on Fire. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

Prairie on Fire. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

The Grand Council. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

The Grand Council. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

Hunting the Deer by Moonlight. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

Hunting the Deer by Moonlight. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

Indians Spearing Fish. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

Indians Spearing Fish. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

Ballustrade Bluffs with the Grand Staircase. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

Ballustrade Bluffs with the Grand Staircase. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

The Maiden Rock. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4" (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller.  Aachen. LINK.

The Maiden Rock. Henry Lewis. Lith. Jnst. Arnz & Co. Dusseldorf. Multi-stone lithograph, 1854-57. Image 5 3/8 x 7 3/4″ (137 x 196 mm) plus title and margins. Printed by C. H. Muller. Aachen. LINK.

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Historic America video tour of The Old Print Gallery

Last week we filmed with Aaron Killian, writer, historian, and president and founder of Historic America. Aaron is dedicated to bringing the history of our country to life through interactive publishing, tours, and the creation of digital historic research material. We were thrilled to be asked to do a video with him about our collection of historic prints- and to share our unique inventory with a whole new group of followers and history enthusiasts.

In the video, we share seven prints from our inventory, touch upon the role of prints throughout history, and talk a bit about our long 40+ year history as a gallery. It was fun morning of filming- Aaron was an engaging host, and kept the whole process super easy for this video newbie, asking stimulating and smart questions and sharing interesting facts along the way.

For more information on the prints show in the video, follow the links below:
Montanus 17th century view of St. Augustine
Edward Savage portrait of the Washington Family
Original Washington Monument Plan
Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln
Currier and Ives’ lithograph of The Battle of Bull Run
Colton’s Washington DC map
DC Circus Poster

We hope you enjoy the video! Thanks again to Aaron Killian of Historic America– we encourage all of our blog readers to book a tour with Aaron you will see DC in a whole new light and learn a lot! Also, make sure to check out the Historic America blog– you can spend hours watching his videos and reading about our nation’s past (and present)- a fantastic site for history-buffs.

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