Sleighing in New York
New York: Emil Seitz, 1855 [but c. 1870]. Lithograph printed in colors, after D. Benecke. Designed by Th. Benecke. Printed by Nagel & Lewis. Image size (including text): 21 5/8 x 30½ inches.
A merry panorama of chaos on lower Broadway, 1855
Looking east across Broadway at Barnum's Museum just up from St. Paul's Church, and focused on a couple, thought to be Jenny Lind and her American impresario, P. T. Barnum, in a sleigh in front of Barnum's Museum. Jenny Lind toured America in the early 1850's. The "Swedish Nightingale" was immensely successful, one of the first "stars".
There is, as ever, a huge traffic jam, this one involving one-horse, two-horse and six-horse sleighs, in a variety of styles and livery decorations. The large sleigh with six white horses is a public omnibus. On the front is a portrait of "Ol' Rough and Ready", the recently deceased President, Zachary Taylor, who died quite suddenly and unexpectedly in 1850. The policeman with a horse whip in the background wears the distinctive "cap and star" uniform, the star made of copper. The whole scene vibrates with excitement, confusion, merriment and stress. Note the over the shoulder trombone in the band in the balcony over the entrance to the Museum.
"This imaginative and colorful print, showing Barnum's Museum, is…justly celebrated." (Peters)
NY Public Library, The Eno Collection of New York City Views , number 335; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island , page 898; Peters, America on Stone , page 93, illustrated plate 12.