Item No: pdcp00786
Title: Fairmount Gardens, with the Schuylkill Bridge (Philadelphia)
Print and Picture Collection
William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854)
William Henry Bartlett was a British artist who became one of the foremost illustrators of topography of his generation. He travelled throughout Britain, the Balkans, and the Middle East. He made four visits to North America between 1836 and 1852. Bartlett made sepia-wash drawings the exact size to be engraved. His engraved views were widely copied by artists, but no signed oil painting by his hand is known.
In 1838, Bartlett visited Philadelphia. His finely detailed steel engravings celebrate the city's social and economic prosperity. His engravings were published with a text by Nathaniel Parker Willis as the book American Scenery; or Land, Lake, and River: Illustrations of Transatlantic Nature, published by George Virtue in London. This book and Bartlett's prints were a huge success. American Scenery was reissued numerous times up to about 1870 and the images (and pirated copies of them) appeared not only in these volumes, but also in magazines, other books, and as separate prints. His four engraved views of Philadelphia are undoubtedly the most popular views of the city from that time.
Hand colored steel engraving.
View of the Gardens above the Water Waterworks and the old covered, Upper Ferry Bridge. In the background of this image one can see the first permanent bridge at Spring Garden. Known as "The Colossus" due to its 366 foot span, the single-span covered bridge was designed by German immigrant Lewis Wernwag. When it opened to the public in 1813, it was the longest bridge in America and some considered it to be the longest in the world. After 25 years of service the bridge was destroyed by fire in 1838.
Gift of Evan Randolph, 1960.
Transferred from the Rare Book Department Dec. 1996.
Bartlett, W. H. (William Henry), 1809-1854 - Artist
Giles, James, 1801-1870 - Engraver