Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 83

"[2 Volumes] Picturesque America; or, the Land We Live In...", Bryant, William C.

Subject: United States & Canada

Period: 1872-74 (published)


Color: Black & White

10.3 x 13 inches
26.2 x 33 cm
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"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.

These are some of the most beautiful plate books on the United States and Canada ever produced. Volume I contains 24 fine steel engraved views and 284 wood engravings, many full-page including 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. Volume II contains 25 steel engraved views and hundreds of wood engravings, many full-page including 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, the Rocky Mountains, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Susquehanna, Boston, and much more. The great "New York, from Brooklyn Heights" is the steel engraved frontispiece. These matching volumes are in full presentation binding in half-leather with fancy tooling and embossing with gilt, raised bands on spine. The front covers are stamped with gilt titles and decorations. All edges gilt (A.E.G.). Volume I - 568 pp., Volume II - 576 pp.



The steel engraved views are in A condition; nearly all are sharp impressions on clean, bright sheets with some minor spots in the far margins. The text pages are lightly toned with small dampstains in the margins of some of the pages. Bindings are in C+ condition with moderate shelf wear and heavy chipping to the spines. The back cover of Volume I is detached, and the front cover is partially detached. The front cover of Volume II is also completely detached. Given the excellent condition of the engravings, this would be a good candidate for professional rebinding.

Estimate: $400 - $475

Sold for: $500

Closed on 6/9/2021