MATHEWS, Alfred Edward (1831-1874)
Gems of Rocky Mountain Scenery, Containing Views Along and Near the Union Pacific Railroad
New York: Published by the Author, 1869. Small folio. (13 x 10 1/4 inches). 20 tinted lithographed plates after Mathews.
Publisher's purple cloth, covers decoratively blocked in blind, upper cover with a central stamp in gilt, expertly rebacked to style.
A rare work by an important western artist, with among the first illustrations of the Rocky Mountains made available to the public.
A pioneering creator of city and country views in the American West, Alfred Mathews' works ranks only behind Bodmer, Catlin, Moran, and Warre as illustrated depictions of the opening of the West. The present work was issued following the success of his famed Pencil Sketches of Colorado (1866) and Pencil Sketches of Montana (1868). Mathews states in his "Introductory" notice: "The Lithographs embodied in this work are selections from a series of sketches made by the artist while sojourning in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah, from the fall of 1865 to the winter of 1868. During this time he made many excursions of more or less duration, from Denver in Colorado, Helena and Virginia City in Montana, and Salt Lake City in Utah ... These expeditions were performed, excepting during one summer, entirely alone, and principally with ponies; but on two or three occasions on snow-shoes and in a small boat ... The pictures represent actual localities; and as they have been drawn on stone from the sketches by the artist himself, have lost none of their original truthfulness." Organized geographically, the tinted lithographs comprise twelve views in Colorado, two in Idaho Territory, two in Montana, and four in Utah; each view is accompanied by a descriptive text leaf. The final Appendix leaf includes endorsements by President Grant and others. "Mathew's famous lithographs were among the first true representations of the Rocky Mountains to be made available to the public" (Streeter).
Eberstadt 106:207; Graff 2708; Howes M411; Sabin 46823; Streeter sale 2109.