Schuylkill Water Works (Philadelphia)

Historical Images of Philadelphia Philadelphiana
Schuylkill Water Works (Philadelphia)

Item Info

Item No: pdcp00788
Title: Schuylkill Water Works (Philadelphia)
Media Type: Engravings
Source: 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 showing the canal lock on the west side of the Schuylkill and the waterworks and reservoir on the west side.  This beautiful print shows a romantic view of the Water Works and the hill containing the reservoir (where the Art Museum now sits).  The boaters gliding through the lock on the right add to the ethereal quality of the scene. 

Notes: Purchased from The Philadelphia Print Shop.
Creation Year: 1838
Geocode Latitude: Geocode Longitude:-75.189112
Geocode Latitude:39.968120

Creator Name: Bartlett, W. H. (William Henry), 1809-1854 - Artist
Armytage, James Charles, -1897 - Engraver