View's of Weyer's Cave
Richmond, Virginia: Edward Beyer, entered 1857 [but published 1858]. Tinted lithograph, 'Taken from Nature by Ed. Beyer', printed by Rau & Son in Dresden. Image size (including text): 10 7/8 x 18 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 17 3/8 x 25 inches. Black and gold, 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.
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.