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Item #41384 The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, Containing the Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Twenty-four of the Most Eminent Citizens of the American Republic, Since the Death of Washington. fl., Artist, Mathew B. BRADY, Charles Edwards, LESTER, Francis D'AVIGNON, Spiridione, GAMBARDELLA, Photographer, Lithographer.
The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, Containing the Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Twenty-four of the Most Eminent Citizens of the American Republic, Since the Death of Washington
The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, Containing the Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Twenty-four of the Most Eminent Citizens of the American Republic, Since the Death of Washington
The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, Containing the Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Twenty-four of the Most Eminent Citizens of the American Republic, Since the Death of Washington

The Gallery of Illustrious Americans, Containing the Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Twenty-four of the Most Eminent Citizens of the American Republic, Since the Death of Washington

New York: M. B. Brady, F. d'Avignon, C. Edwards Lester, 1850. Folio. (21 x 15 inches). Letterpress title and salutation leaf. 12 lithograph portraits on india paper, mounted as issued, by d'Avignon after daguerreotypes by Brady (11) and a painting by S[piridione] Gambardella (1). Each plate with the publisher's blindstamp in the lower margin.

Expertly bound to style in black half morocco and period cloth boards, yellow endpapers

Rare early American photographic work, including portraits of John James Audubon and President Taylor from daguerreotypes by Mathew Brady, the most famous American photographer of the mid-19th century. A fine copy without the foxing usually found.

The series is made up of twelve portraits, all but one from Brady's daguerreotypes, accompanied by biographical descriptions. It was intended as a celebration of the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century through the "noble deeds" of its most famous citizens. "In this Gallery, therefore, will be grouped together those American citizens, who have rendered the most signal services to the Nation, since the death of the Father of the Republic. As there is nothing sectional in the scope of this work, it will be comprehensive in its spirit; and it is hoped that it may bind the Union still more firmly together." - Brady, Preface The work had its roots in 1845 when "Brady, the commercial photographer, became Brady the historian, who used a camera as Bancroft did his pen. It was in this year that Brady began work on the tremendous project of preserving for posterity the pictures of all distinguished Americans, which he planned to publish in a massive volume with the title of The Gallery of Illustrious Americans. The year 1850 was a milestone in Brady's life; his dream of having his Gallery published became a reality." [Horan] The work was a joint publishing venture between the journalist and author Charles Edwards Lester, who wrote the biographical sketches; the lithographer Francis d'Avignon; and the senior partner Brady. The "book was issued by d'Avignon's press. It received fine notices from the Herald and other New York newspapers. Brady had paid d'Avignon a hundred dollars apiece for each of the lithograph stones and Brady soon recognized the book as a critical success but a financial failure." [Horan] From the title it is clear that Brady originally planned to issue a second series of 12 portraits, but, according to Horan, Brady "reluctantly abandoned the project." Horan goes on to note that Sabin claims that the work was completed in 1856 but there are no extant copies of this second part, and it appears that Sabin was mistaken in this case. The portrait subjects are as follows: 1. General Taylor, Twelfth President of the United States. 2. John Caldwell Calhoun. 3. Daniel Webster. 4. Silas Wright. 5. Henry Clay. 6. John Charles Fremont. 7. John James Audubon. 8. William Hickling Prescott. 9. General Winfield Scott. 10. President Fillmore. 11. William Ellery Channing. 12. Lewis Cass.

Horan Mathew Brady: Historian with a Camera, pp.10-14. Kunhardt, Mathew Brady and His World, pp.47-48. Pfister, Facing the Light: Historic American Portrait Daguerreotypes, p.22. Sabin 40221. Taft Photography and the American Scene, pp.59-60.

Item #41384

Price: $17,000.00