George Beck. "Philadelphia."

beck_phila1.jpg
beck_phila.jpg
beck_phila1.jpg
beck_phila.jpg

George Beck. "Philadelphia."

4,500.00

George Beck.  “Philadelphia, From the Great Tree at Kensington, under which Penn made his Great Treaty with the Indians.”  London: Atkins & Nightingale, Jan. 1, 1801.  15 3/4 x 22.  Aquatint by J. Cartwright.  Original hand color.  Margins trimmed to image; title detached and mounted separately.  Some time toning, but overall good condition.  Framed to museum specifications with UF-3 plexiglass.

 One of the most unusual and elegant early views of the great elm tree under which William Penn was supposed to have made his treaty with the Indians.  The artist is George Beck, an English landscape painter who emigrated to America in the 1790s.  Beck is etched in our memories for his fine portrayals of eastern American scenery during the decade around the turn of the century.  This particular print is one of a group of five such scenes drawn by Beck, engraved by Cartwright, and known as the Atkins & Nightingale series of American views.  The five, including views of Washington, Baltimore and Niagara Falls, as well as Philadelphia, were published over a seven-year period and now survive for us as some of the more desirable prints published during this time.  They are very rare as well as being elaborate and choice renderings.

 This engaging view of Philadelphia shows the magnificent old tree sheltering the foreground, with a very fine and descriptive view of activity on the Delaware and the skyline of the city in the distance.  The soft color and shading are as delicate as the drawing.  For subject, date, rarity, scale, as well as execution, this is one of the key early Philadelphia prints.

 Ref.:I. N. Stokes and D. C. Haskell, American Historical Prints....The New York Public Library, 1933, p. 46, # P. 188 - E-20.Snyder, Mirror of America, 580.

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