The American Expedition, under Commodore Perry, Landing in Japan July 14th, 1853
New York: Hatch & Severyn, Lithographers and Printers; and published by George S. Appleton, 1853. Hand-colored lithograph, 18 x 11 1/2 inches.
A very rare and important American historical print, and a rare image of Perry's Japan Landing.
This quite rare and important image depicts the magnificent ceremonial entrance of Commodore Matthew Perry and his marines to the court of the Japanese imperial commissioners at Uraga, Japan, the historic first American landing on Japanese soil. The American journalist and poet, Bayard Taylor, an important civilian member of Perry's expeditionary force (actually serving as "master mate" at Perry's official order), ably describes the great scene in his caption for the print: "The officers comprising the Commodore's escort formed a double line from the jetty and, as he passed between them, fell into the proper order behind him. He was received with the customary honors, and the procession immediately started for the place of reception. A stalwart boatswain's mate was selected to bear the broad pennant of the Commodore, supported by two very tall and powerful negro seamen completely armed. Behind these, followed two sailor boys bearing the letter of the president, and the Commodore's letter of credence in their sumptuous boxes, wrapped in scarlet cloth; then came the Commodore himself, with his staff and escort of officers. The marine force, a fine athletic body of men commanded by Major Gillen, with a detachment of the 'Mississippi' under Capt. Slack, led the way, and the corps of seamen from all the ships brought up the rear." Charles Severyn, artist and lithographer, was a printmaker in New York circa 1845-60s. He usually worked independently, but was occasionally employed by Currier & Ives, and sometimes partnered in lithographic firms, notably with Eliphat Brown (ca. 1851-53) and George W. Hatch (1853-54). Severyn's image ably represents the pomp and excitement surrounding Perry's landing.
Peters, America on Stone, p.363 (plate 64); Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Ct., 1999) III, p.2979; Groce & Wallace, p.569.