The Drum's. The Tapestry Room. Weyers Cave. Central R. R. Augusta Va.
Richmond, Virginia: Edward Beyer, entered 1857 [but published 1858]. Tinted lithograph, 'Taken from Nature by Ed. Beyer', printed by W. Loeillot in Berlin. Image size (including text): 10 x 15 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 17 3/8 x 24 7/8 inches. Black and gold frame, hand-painted French mat. 24 x 28 1/2"
An exemplary print from one of the greatest American view books: `a major outstanding item' (Bennett)
Edward Beyer was a German artist who visited the United States in the early 1850's. He chose to concentrate his work on Virginia and Kentucky, spending three years in Virginia working on the original drawings for this book. Although the title notes that the copyright was registered by Beyer in the District of Virginia, the book was actually produced in Germany, with the plates being prepared in Dresden or Berlin. The superb tinted lithograph views were generally printed in black with, generally, two further colours.
The cavern system was discovered in 1804 by 18-year-old Bernard Weyer, a young trapper, looking for his missing trap. He named it Weyer's Cave, after himself, and, after exploring it for two years, opened it for the public, the first show cave of the United State. Weyer's Cave is now called the Grand Caverns. It is located in the central Shenandoah Valley in the town of Grottoes, Virginia.
'This cave is in Augusta County, seventeen miles North of Staunton, a short distance West of the Blue Ridge. It derives its name from Bernard Weyer, who discovered it in 1804, while hunting. With one exception, in extent, it is the largest Cave in the World... The Artist has selected the Tapestry and Drum Room for an Illustration, and which is perhaps the greatest of its Wonders. It gives forth, when struck on its walls, the deep sonourous sound of a bass drum... "the influence of 2,000 to 3,000 lights in these immense caverns is only such as to reveal the objects, without disturbing the solemn and sublime obscurity which sleeps in everything. Scarcely any scenes can awaken so many passions at once , and so deeply... I have had before, from other objects, one simple impression made with greater power; but I never had so many impressions made, and with so much power, before".' ( Description of the Album of Virginia... Illustrated Richmond, 1857).
Deak writes of Beyer, "He was taken by the beauty of the Virginia landscape, particularly by the elegant settings of some of the region's watering places...Virginians responded warmly to Beyer's enterprise and often gave him advance access to architectural plans when these could be of help to him. There was probably no Virginia county that Beyer left unvisited in his zeal to present what is, in fact, an affectionate family album of an entire state." Deak praises Beyer's "delicate and precise style" and "characteristic refinement of proportion.".
Cf. Bennett p.10; cf. Deak Picturing America 721; cf. Howes B413 ("b"); cf. Sabin 5125.