BARTLETT’S BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS FOR BEATTIE’S SWITZERLAND
(SWITZERLAND) (BARTLETT, William Henry, illustrator) BEATTIE, William. Switzerland. Illustrated in a Series of Views Taken Expressly for this Work by W.H. Bartlett. London: George Virtue, 1838. Two volumes. Quarto, contemporary marbled boards sympathetically rebacked and recornered in black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $1800.
Early edition of this “moral and political, as well as physical picture of Switzerland,” with vignette title pages and 106 full-page steel-engraved plates after Bartlett, ranging from depictions of local life to sweeping views of Mont Blanc, Lake Lugano, Geneva, and other Swiss cities, with folding map. Handsomely bound.
William Beattie wrote “a series of descriptive and historical works, beautifully illustrated by his friend and fellow traveler, the well-known William Henry Bartlett” (DNB)— including Switzerland, for which the British landscape painter produced two illustrated title pages and 106 finely detailed plates. Bartlett was instrumental in satisfying the current public demand for panoramic views of foreign places. From the beginning of his career, he was encouraged to take artistic journeys, first throughout the British Isles, then on the Continent, and eventually to the Middle East, Asia Minor, the United States and Canada. Concerned with rendering “lively impressions of actual sights,” Bartlett became recognized as one of the foremost illustrators of topography. “He could select his point of view so as to bring prominently into his sketch the castle or the cathedral, which history or antiquity had allowed” (Nathaniel Parker Willis). “Collectors not seeking representations of familiar scenes will probably find the grandeur of Bartlett’s Swiss subjects most appealing” (Ray, 65). The steel-engravings in Switzerland were made from sepia wash drawings executed by Bartlett on site in the exact size to be engraved (as was his practice). The accompanying text recounts Beattie and Bartlett’s “experiences obtained in repeated excursions” and provides an insightful discourse on the history and geography of the region. An extremely popular work upon publication, Switzerland passed through several editions, and “elicited the acknowledgment from its publisher, Mr. Virtue, ‘that the prosperity he had attained was mainly owing to Dr. Beattie’s literary assistance” (DNB). First published in 1836.
Text clean, occasional expert cleaning to plates. An extremely good copy in an attractive binding.