Auction 137, Lot 151

"[2 Volumes] Picturesque America; or, the Land we Live in…", Bryant, William C.

Subject: Canada & United States

Period: 1872-74 (published)


Color: Black & White

10 x 13.3 inches
25.4 x 33.8 cm

"Picturesque America" was published by Appleton & Co., New York, 1872-75. It was the most elaborate publication of travel imagery produced in the 1870s. This publication set out to reveal the unique and varied scenery of all of America. This was made possible by the recent opening of transcontinental railroads and overland communications. It was considered the definitive treatment of the American landscape, and its appearance just before the nation's Centennial graphically marked the United States' progress in exploration and development of scenic wonders during its first century. Appleton employed many of America's most celebrated and respected artists to prepare the illustrations. Click here to see a complete list of the 49 steel engravings. Click here to see a complete list of the 578 wood engravings.

This is one of the most beautiful plate books on the United States and Canada ever produced. Volume I contains 23 of 24 fine steel engraved views and 284 wood engravings, many full-page, include works by Thomas Moran, Harry Fenn, Granville Perkins, James D. Smillie and other important American artists of the 19th century. This volume contains works on Yellowstone, Yosemite, Richmond, Savannah, Charleston, Watkins Glen, Mackinac, the California Coast, the Golden Gate, and the terrific steel engraved frontispiece of Niagara Falls. "City of New Orleans" is missing, and the book contains "Washington from Arlington Heights" instead of "City of Detriot," which is on the list of engravings at the front of the book. Volume II contains 22 of 25 steel engraved views and hundreds of wood engravings, many full-page, include works by Harry Fenn, Granville Perkins, A.C. Warren, F.O.C. Darley and others. Volume II contains New York City, The Mammoth Cave, the Northwest, Chicago, Milwaukee, the Canons of the Colorado, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Susquehanna, Boston, and much more. The great "New York, from Brooklyn Heights" is the steel engraved frontispiece. "The City of Louisville," "The Rocky Mountains," and "Washington from Arlington Heights" are missing (although the Washington plate is included in the first Volume). These matching volumes are in 3/4 leather with fancy tooling and embossing with gilt, raised bands on spine. The front covers are brown pebbled cloth and stamped gilt with title and stylized artist's palette. Full marbled end papers and red fore edges. Volume I - 568 pp., Volume II - 576 pp.


Condition: B+

The covers are worn. The text and plates are very lightly toned with some occasional soiling in the blank margins, else fine. In Vol. I some pages are coming loose, and three pages have torn corners that have been reattached with tape, which enters an engraving on one page.

Estimate: $375 - $500

Sold for: $190

Closed on 9/14/2011