STUNNING BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF NEW YORK WITH NUMEROUS LANDMARKS KEYED BELOW THE IMAGE
Hand-colored lithograph. 27 x 37 inches sheet, 31 ½ x 42 inches framed. Legend with numbered landmarks and title printed on lower margin.
This breathtaking bird’s-eye view of New York is drawn from a work by the accomplished cityscape artists Charles R. Parsons and Lyman W. Atwater. It looks from northeast, with Jersey City at the very fore, Manhattan island at the center, and Brooklyn in the distance, and shows the glorious ribbon of water surrounding Manhattan island teeming with sailboats and steam vessels--a sign of the flourishing commerce that defined Postbellum New York.
This composition encompasses numerous famous landmarks that remain thriving centers of New York life today, including Union Square, Madison Square, NYU, Harlem River, Astoria, Prospect Park, Redhook Point, Gowanus Bay, and the Navy Yard. Of these, the most prominently featured are Battery Park, the Hudson and the East River, and the Brooklyn Bridge, which was represented here as only a projection, since construction for the actual bridge was not completed until six years after this view’s publication.
The land of New York was discovered in 1524, and colonized by the Dutch in 1624, when it was named New Amsterdam and became a trading port of the Dutch West India Company. In 1664 this Dutch colony was surrendered to British forces and was renamed New York after James Duke of York (1633-1701), who had been granted the land by his brother King Charles II. Within fifteen years of this present view, New York would become one of the most important cities in the new nation. Today it is a vibrant and diverse beacon of culture, finance, and education for the world.
The publishing firm of Currier & Ives created the most popular and highly regarded lithographs of quintessentially American scenes ever produced. The quality, vast scope and engagingly populist style of their works have made their names synonymous with an idealistic vision of 19th-century American promise and optimism. Nathaniel Currier began his lithographic career as an apprentice in 1828. By the mid-1830's he had established his own firm on Spruce Street in New York City. In 1857 James Ives became a partner in the flourishing business, which went on to produce over 7,000 lithographs by 1907.
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