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• July 9, 2016
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This Auction is Now CLOSED for Bidding.
Lot Number: 203
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Estimate Range: $400 - $600
Current Bidding Status
This Lot is CLOSED
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“THE UNITED STATES BANK. PHILADELPHIA.” Print

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c. 1840, Hand-Colored Engraved Print titled, “The United States Bank. Philadelphia.” (Second), Published by William H. Bartlett, Framed, Choice Near Mint.

This original, Hand-Colored Engraving measures 10 x 7" (by sight), housed in a modern gilt and black wooden framed to an overall size of 15.5” x 12.25”. It is displaying an active scene at the front of the Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia circa 1840. Wonderful vibrant handcolored. The publisher, William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854), was a quite renounced British artist best known for his historic and architectural steel engravings and made sepia wash drawings the exact size to be engraved. Bartlett’s primary concern was to render "lively impressions of actual sights."

In 1835 Bartlett first visited the United States in order to draw the buildings, towns and scenery of the northeastern states. The finely detailed steel engravings Bartlett produced were published uncolored with a text by Nathaniel Parker Willis as American Scenery; or Land, Lake, and River: Illustrations of Transatlantic Nature. American Scenery was published by George Virtue in London in 30 monthly installments from 1837 to 1839. This historic original Hand-Colored Print titled, “The United States Bank. Philadelphia.” is ready to hang upon display. Quite lovely and rare.
The Second Bank of the United States (BUS) served as the nation's federally authorized central bank during its 20-year charter from February 1817 to January 1836. A private corporation with public duties, the central bank handled all fiscal transactions for the US Government, and was accountable to Congress and the US Treasury. Twenty percent of its capital was owned by the federal government, the Bank's single largest stockholder.

Four thousand private investors held 80% of the Bank's capital, including one thousand Europeans. The bulk of the stocks were held by a few hundred wealthy Americans. In its time, the institution was the largest monied corporation in the world. The essential function of the Bank was to regulate the public credit issued by private banking institutions through the fiscal duties it performed for the US Treasury, and to establish a sound and stable national currency.

The federal deposits endowed the BUS with its regulatory capacity. Modeled on Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States the Second Bank began operations at its main branch in Philadelphia on January 7, 1817, managing twenty-five branch offices nationwide by 1832.The efforts to renew the Bank's charter put the institution at the center of the general election of 1832, in which BUS president Nicholas Biddle and pro-Bank National Republicans clashed with the "hard-money".

Andrew Jackson administration and eastern banking interests in the Bank War. Failing to secure recharter, the Second Bank of the United States became a private corporation in 1836, and underwent liquidation in 1841.

William Bartlett was born in Kentish Town, London on 1809. He became one of the foremost illustrators of topography of his generation, traveling not just throughout Britain, but to the Americas in 1839-1842. In the 1840's he travelled extensively in the Balkans and Middle East. He died of fever on ship returning from his last trip to Israel in 1854. His works are today highly prized for their beauty, accuracy, and superb composition. He is considered to be one of the finest 19th century topographical illustrators.
Lot Number: 203
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Estimate Range: $400 - $600
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