Album of Virginia; or, illustration of the old dominion
Edward Beyer [but printed by Rau & Son of Dresden and W.Loeillot of Berlin]: [Richmond], Virginia, 1858. Oblong folio. (16 5/8 x 24 3/4 inches). Lithographed throughout. Tinted title with five integral vignettes, 40 tinted plates after Beyer by Rau & Son (18) or W.Loeillot (22).
Original deep purple half morocco, upper cloth cover with blind-stamped border surrounding large central title block in gilt `Album of Virginia;/ or,/ Illustration. Of the/ Old Dominion. By/ Edward Beyer', lower cover blocked in blind, the flat spine divided into six compartments by horizontal gilt roll (some discolouration to upper cover, extremities bumped). Modern tan cloth box.
One of the foremost American view books created in the nineteenth century. "This is a major outstanding item, the rarity of which is by no means fully appreciated" - 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 titlepage gives Richmond as a place of printing, the book was actually produced in Germany, with the plates being prepared in Dresden and the letterpress in Berlin. The superb tinted lithograph views include beautiful natural scenes, Harper's Ferry, White Sulphur Springs, railroad bridges and tunnels (e.g Highbridge near Farmville), views in Weyer's Cave, and scenes at many of the fashionable resorts which nestled amid the mountains of Southwest Virginia. A broad variety of places in Virginia are shown. 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."
Bennett p.10; Deak Picturing America 721; Howes B413 ("b"); Sabin 5125.