VAN LENNEP, Henry John (1815-1889)
The Oriental Album: Twenty illustrations in oil colors of the people and scenery of Turkey, with an explanatory and descriptive text
New York: Anson D.F. Randolph, 1862. Folio. (18 x 13 1/2 inches). Tinted lithographic additional title by Charles Parsons, printed by Endicott & Co., 20 chromolithographic plates by Parsons after van Lennep, all printed by Endicott & Co. of New York.
Expertly bound to style in half red morocco and period marbled paper covered boards, spine gilt with raised bands, marbled endpapers.
A rare and important American color-plate book.
One of the relatively few American costume books, and certainly the best such created in 19th-century America. This is a notable and unusual instance of the taste for the Ottoman or "Turkish" which manifested itself in the furniture of the period but seldom in books. In terms of American color-plate books, this is one of the only large projects from the 1860s, when the Civil War seems to have curtailed production of such lavish enterprises. "The one really big chromolithographic book of this decade ... the art is simple, but [Charles] Parson's hand is obvious in the good lithography, and Endicott's printing is well done for its time" (McGrath). "Endicott achieved a rich variety of color which demonstrated the increased technical ability of American printers in the medium" (Reese). Henry Van Lennep was born in Smyrna, the son of European merchants. Educated, on the advice of American missionaries, in the United States, he returned to Turkey as a missionary in 1840, and spent most of the next twenty years in various parts of the Ottoman Empire. Returning to the United States in 1861, he turned his superb original drawings of Middle Eastern life into the Oriental Album. The plates include two scenes of Jewish life in the Ottoman Empire. Included are plates of "A Turkish Effendi", "Armenian Lady (at home)", "Turkish and Armenian Ladies (abroad)", "Turkish Scribe", ""Turkish Lady of Rank (at home)", "Turkish Cavass (police officer)", "Turkish Lady (unveiled)", "Armenian Piper", "Armenian Ladies (at home)", "Armenian Marriage Procession", "Armenian Bride", "Albanian Guard", "Armenian Peasant Woman", "Bagdad Merchant (travelling)", "Jewish Marriage", "Jewish Merchant", "Gypsy Fortune Telling", "Bandit Chief", "Circassian Warrior", "Druse Girl."
Bennett, p.108; Blackmer Catalogue 1715; Blackmer Sale 1500; DAB XIX, 200; McGrath, pp.38, 115, 162; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 97; Atabey 1274.