DURAND, Asher B. (1796-1886)
This Portrait is published to identify the person with the true character of one of the basest of men. Joseph Mountjoy Manners ...
New York: Published for the benefit of the community, 8 December 1823. Line engraved portrait above engraved text (a 3-line title, 9 lines of text, plus the imprint). Trimmed close. Sheet size: 6 3/8 x 4 3/4 inches.
Very rare, engraved portrait by Asher B. Durand of a noted New York swindler.
Asher Durand was hailed as "the most famous engraver in America" and "the father of American landscape painting". His bold clean style was an immediate success, and he consequently produced some of the most important engravings in American print history. The subject of this early American "wanted poster" had married Durand's sister, but deserted her shortly thereafter, prompting the Durand family to uncover his true history. Durand executed this small broadside portrait and privately distributed it in an attempt to shame Manners and prohibit him from harming another young woman. The text continues: "A native of England, was educated a preacher in the Methodist connection from which he was expell'd for his crimes, afterwards became an outlaw'd swindler, fled from Sheffiled, leaving a wife & children & came to the United States, where he soon married again into a respectable family & is extensively known as a lecturer on mneumonics. He is classically educated & in appearance a gentleman, but in fact a most accomplished hypocrite. A volunteer of falsehood, none can be too base for his purpose. He abandoned his second wife without cause of complaint (which led to the discovery of his real character & history) has swindled his best friends, violated the most sacred bonds of honor & affection & in short, is not only an infidel in religion but in every moral principle of society." The Durand Papers at the New York Public Library includes a 12 September 1827 letter to Durand from his partner Elias Wade Jr., stating that Manners "may possibly be somewhere in town watching your return, though I think it is a more probable supposition that he has either jumped off the dock or has gone in search of more comfortable quarters than this city afforded him." In addition to an example at the New York Public Library, OCLC locates only the example at the Clements Library.
The Grolier Club, Catalogue of the Engraved Work of Asher B. Durand (New York: 1895), 65; Stauffer 613; Asher B. Durand: An Engraver's and a Farmer's Art (Hudson River Museum: 1983) 24.