BARTLETT, William Henry (1809-1854, illustrator). - Nathaniel Parker WILLIS (1806-1867)
Canadian Scenery Illustrated. From drawings by W. H. Bartlett. The literary department by N.P. Willis, Esq...
London: James S. Virtue, [circa 1860]. 2 volumes in one, quarto. (10 5/8 x 8 3/8 inches). Steel-engraved portrait frontispiece of Bartlett, 2 engraved additional titles with integral vignettes, 1 map of Canada. 117 plates by R. Wallis and others, after William Bartlett.
Expertly bound to style in half red morocco over red cloth covered boards, spines with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second compartment, marbled endpapers, marbled edges
A fine copy of this well-known work: one of the greatest steel-engraved view books of the 19th century.
Born in London, William Henry Bartlett "was apprenticed to the architect and antiquarian, John Britton ... Bartlett studied and copied architectural drawings of the past and present and, with Britton, visited noted ruins in England from which he made detailed sketches to be engraved for some of Brittons own publications. ... One of [Bartlett's] first major assignments was to supply illustrations for Dr William Beatties Switzerland illustrated (London, 1836), published by George Virtue. ... [The work was a huge success and for] the rest of his life Bartlett's travels were extensive and continuous, and they led to illustrations for works on Syria, the Holy Land and Asia Minor, the Mediterranean coast, northern Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, the coastal areas of Britain, the Bosphorus, the Danube, the United States, and Canada.... According to Britton and Beattie, Bartlett visited North America four times: 1836-37, 1838, 1841, and 1852. From the summer of 1836 to July 1837 he was in the United States acquiring illustrations for Nathaniel Parker Willis's American scenery (1840), and in the summer and autumn of 1838 he was in the Canadas sketching for Willis's Canadian scenery illustrated (1842) . Although little is known about Bartlett's itinerary in North America, a map in American scenery suggests that his travels during 1836-37 began in New York City and took him north to the White Mountains, N.H., west to Niagara Falls, N.Y., and south to Washington, D.C. His itinerary in the Canadas in 1838 and the observations he may have made also remain obscure because none of his letters from this period has been found. His route appears on a map in Canadian scenery illustrated: he seems to have travelled from Quebec City westward to Niagara Falls, and then by way of the Erie Canal to visit Willis at Owego, N.Y., before sailing for England in December 1838. No written record survives of Bartletts visit to the Maritimes. The dates of the engravings in Canadian scenery illustrated seem to indicate that he went there in 1841 after another visit to the United States. [The popularity of Bartlett's views] owes much to Bartletts attention to architectural detail, ... to his experiences during his travels, and to his own penchant for the picturesque and sublime in landscape ... [His] was an art which, reflecting the theories of William Gilpin and Edmund Burke, emphasized the irregular and rough, light and shadow, ruined buildings and vast mountains, wild river reaches and towering crags ... Above all, Bartlett's landscapes were readily identifiable ... As a result, Bartlett's sketches have considerable historical value, for they depict the country and its people as they appeared in 1838 to one with an eye for the picturesque.. [Bartlett's] skill in sketching architectural detail, his love for picturesque landscape, and his interest in the life of the people ... gave to his illustrations in Canadian scenery illustrated ... a historical importance that merits their survival" (Dictionary of Canadian Biography ).
Alston 7673; Lande 2310; Sabin 3786; Staton & Tremaine 2424.