MASON, George Champlin (1820-1894)
Newport and its Environs, illustrated by a series of views
Newport: Chas. E. Hammett, 1848. Oblong folio. (12 1/8 x 16 7/8 inches). Tinted lithographic title with vignette. 11 lithographic plates, all after Mason.
Contemporary maroon cloth, upper cover with centrally blocked panel containing title 'Newport / and / environs' lettered in gilt.
The earliest collection of Newport views by the prominent Newport architect, George Champlin Mason. These views, a pastoral lithographic tour, are very rare, and are among the first to showcase the town as a recreational haven.
OCLC cites only eleven plates and no descriptive text and locates only four copies in institutional libraries. Bartlett describes only a small format work by Mason: Newport Illustrated, in a Series of Pen & Pencil Sketches. (New York, 1854). "George Champlin Mason was a native of Newport and a man of many talents -- an artist, writer, and prolific architect. Eventually, he took his son into partnership for the design of some of the finest homes and estates in Newport dating from the second half of the nineteenth century. When in his twenties, the elder Mason spent two years abroad, where he studied drawing and architecture in Paris, Florence, and Rome. On his return, Mason prepared the drawings for his first published work, Newport and its environs. It was designated 'Volume I,' although there is no sign that a second volume ever materialized. All of the views bear Mason's signature and tend to emphasize -- with their attention to cows, ducks, sheep, streams, and fishing -- the pastoral quality of Newport's surroundings" (Deak). Deak calls in error for twelve lithographs, plus the elaborate titlepage. The titlepage vignette which is captioned "Fort Dumpling" is the subject of the first descriptive leaf, and is also included in the list of twelve plates which appears across the top of the titlepage. It is not known who executed the lithography, but in the lower margin of each text leaf, "Francis Hart, Printer," of New York is credited with the letterpress. A complete list of the plates follows, in order of appearance: 1) "Fort Dumpling." (title vignette). 2) "Newport from Fort Dunham." 3) "Ellison's Rock near Conrad's Cave." 4) "The Glen." 5) "The Bluff Near Purgatory." 6) "Newport Harbour, from the Blue Rocks." 7) "Easton's Beach." 8) "Head Quarters of Genl. Prescott in 1777." 9) "Coggeshall's Ledge." 10) "Old Stone Mill, Newport." 11) "State House and Parade." 12) "Whitehall."
Bartlett p.182 (ref.); Bradford 3247; Deak, Picturing America 558; OCLC 36985187; Sabin 45442.