Item No: pdcp00808
Title: Panorama of Philadelphia, from the State House Steeple. East
Historic Street Address:
520 Chestnut St.
Print and Picture Collection
John Caspar Wild (1804-1846)
Swiss-born and Paris-trained artist, John Caspar Wild moved to Philadelphia in 1832. He travelled around the city, creating watercolors of newly built and impressive buildings, using them as the basis for lithographic prints, which could be reproduced in great numbers. With his partner J. B. Chevalier he issued a series of 20 prints, released in monthly parts in 1938 as Views of Philadelphia and Its Vicinity.
Wild's prints were originally issued in parts - four prints each month for the first five months of 1838. The 20 plates were followed by the four panoramas from the State House steeple. This was followed by the second edition (still in 1838), which consisted of all 20 plates in one bound volume. "Poetical illustrations" of each image were written by Ezra Holden and Andrew McMakin, the proprietors of the Saturday Courier. Holden wrote the prose and McMakin wrote the poetry.
Not long after the Views of Philadelphia was published, Wild moved west to St. Louis and turned his focus to that city and the Mississippi Valley. The copyright and lithographic stones to view his Views of Philadelphia were bought by J. T. Bowen, who published another edition in 1838 and a new edition of the work with hand-colored plates in 1848. Wild died in Davenport, Iowa at the young age of 42.
Lithograph, published in Philadelphia by J.T. Bowen, 1838.
John Caspar Wild's Panoramic Views
John Caspar Wild created panoramic views of the city in four directions from a single point of view - the City Hall steeple. While other artists had created birds-eye views of Philadelphia (and other cities), this was a groundbreaking idea. The panoramas were produced after he had completed the other images in his Views of Philadelphia. They were included in subsequent editions of the book.
Drawn from Nature and on Stone by J. C. Wild.
Gift of David S. B. Chew, Esq., June 1932.
Numbered locations listed: 1. Court House, 2. Philadelphia Library, 3. U.S.Bank, 4. Phila Bank, 5. Gerard[sic] Bank, 6. Pennsylvania Bank, 7. Exchange, 8. Christ Church, 9. Smith's Island, 10. Camden, 11. Kaighns Point
Plate 1 of 4.
Wild, J. C. (John Caspar), approximately 1804-1846 - Lithographer
Bowen, John T., approximately 1801-1856? - Lithographer