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Bryant, William Cullen (Ed.). Picturesque America; or, the land we live in. A delineation by pen and pencil of the mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, water-falls, shores, cañons, valleys, cities, and other picturesque features of our country. New York: D. Appelton and Company, 1872-74. Two volumes, large quarto.
Beautifully illustrated work on America which presents a full description and elaborate pictorial delineation of all the different portions of the United States, including Canada. The prints in this work are of exquisite quality, many are almost photographic. The purpose of the editor of this work, William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), has been 'to illustrate with greater fullness and artistic excellence than has hitherto been attempted, all the spots endeared to us by association, and, at the same time, to bring into public appreciation the many glorious scenes that lie in the by-ways of travel'. O.B. Bunce, T.B. Thorpe, Robert Carter, J.C Carter and G.M. Towle are amongst the many writers who contributed to this work.Picturesque America was a very popular book in its day, for it provided Americans with glimpses into the rustic beauty and history of the American landscape. It documents the nineteenth century national passion for an aesthetic view of American scenery. With its nine hundred wood engravings and marvellous steel engravings, it is considered to have had a lasting effect on both the growth of tourism and the historic preservation movement in the United States. After their publication in 1872 and 1874, the two volume gift set of Picturesque America quickly became a best seller and by 1880, the works were included in some 100,000 American home libraries. Picturesque America had a profound effect on its readers, who considered its contents to be uplifting, a means of self improvement, and essential to self-education. The visual appeal of its scenic reproductions delighted Americans with imagery of their country that they could have only imagined in the past. The works, many engraved after paintings by famous artists, offered views that were pleasing but not necessarily true to life. Motifs associated with the picturesque tradition, such as craggy and twisted glimpses of nature and humans and animals placed in a rugged landscape, were plentiful. Numerous cityscapes featuring city squares, parks, important architectural landmarks and national monuments were also documented in scenes depicting New York , Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, and Washington D.C., among others. In the words of its editor, William Cullen Bryant, "Picturesque America encompassed the entire country while affording a nearly endless variety of sites with superiority over visions of the Old World." This massive set is most remarkable for the steel engravings after the drawings of chief artist, Harry Fenn, which were made on the spot, and by artists such as Thomas Moran, R. Swain Gifford, Granville Perkins, Homer Martin, Alfred R. Waud, W.L. Sheppard, and James D. Smillie, sent by the publishers for the purpose. The superb plates were engraved by many very good artists, including Robert Hinshelwood, a Scots engraver who emigrated to America in 1835 where he established a considerable reputation for his work on landscapes. The sights presented range from Niagara Falls and Mount Desert Island, to Lake Superior and the coast of Florida, to Mount Hood and Yosemite Valley. Urban views include New Orleans, Buffalo, New York harbour, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, as well as the Gold Gate harbour before the bridge was erected.William Cullen Bryant was one of America's most talented poets, he also worked as a journalist in New York for over 30 years. He was born in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. (#kfk551) $2,250.00

 

 

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Kevin F. Kelly, bookseller ††† phone: (845) 419-5090 ††† books@kevinkellybookseller.com