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    Magnificent and Incredibly Accurate Views of Colorado

    A[lfred] E. Mathews. Pencil Sketches of Colorado, Its Cities, Principal Towns and Mountain Scenery. [New York: A.E. Mathews], 1866. First edition of these celebrated views. Oblong folio. Title, preface (one leaf), blank, eight pages of text preceding the plates. Thirty-six views on twenty-three hand-finished, tinted lithographed plates printed by Julius Bien (who produced the second folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America), depicting the principal towns, settlements and scenes of Colorado, and the mining processes used in the early days (sixteen plates are full-page, four plates have two views each, and three plates have four views each). The frontispiece is hand-colored. Publisher's original maroon cloth with gilt device on front board, skillfully re-backed in leather with titles stamped in gilt on the spine. New endpapers and blanks. Externally near fine; lower corners of text pages skillfully restored, some old tape repairs, some toning along the edges of the text pages; plates with occasional closed tears repaired with tape, some toning and light foxing in the margins, else a sound, restored copy in very good condition.
    Mathews writes in the preface: "The author herewith offers to the public a collection of lithographed sketches of Colorado, embracing its Cities, and most of its Principal Towns together with some of the beautiful Mountain Scenery which abounds in this incomparable territory...[My aim is] to represent that portion of the country to which interest is attached on account of the rich gold and silver mines; and, if possible, to give non-residents an idea of the beauty and grandeur of the natural scenery in the mountains, which will compare favorably, in this respect, with any in the world."
    References: Bennett, page 72; Eberstadt 106:208 ("This marvelous series is of the highest historical importance, delineating accurately, as it does, the pioneer life, conditions and scenes of a vast and then unsettled region"); Graff 2709; Howes M-413 ("c"); Reps, Views and Viewmakers, 482; Streeter 2171 ("These views are celebrated for their documentary accuracy-apparently contemporary viewers could identify in the street views the rigs of various townspeople").

    More Information:

    "Late in 1865, Mathews arrived in Denver, Colorado, and almost immediately embarked on an ambitious project to produce a uniform series of views of Denver and the major mining communities in the Colorado Rockies. In March 1866, he distributed the first four prints: a general view of Denver and three street scenes of the city. Four others arrived several weeks later from his New York City printer, Julius Bien. All of these must have been sold as separate prints, but in October they and others became available in bound form with twelve pages of text describing the thirty-six lithographs...Mathews drew with almost mechanical regularity, and in examining his work one is always aware of looking at lines on paper rather than at the scene itself...Nevertheless, although far from great as art, the views provide valuable documentation of the appearance of Colorado communities less than a decade after they sprang into existence following the first gold discoveries in 1859" (Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America  (1985), pages 190-191).

    "The most important, from a pictorial standpoint, of the artists who made the Western journey after the close of the Civil War was Alfred E. Mathews...This pictorial record of Colorado is an important historical document...[The] wealth of detail in his city and street views is invaluable to the social historian. Dress, transportation (in one of the lithographs, there can be counted seven or eight types of wheeled vehicles), the miscellany of everyday street life, and the methods, equipment and detail of Colorado mining, are all faithfully recorded, or as faithfully as Mathews could for he made a fetish of validity in his pictures...Eight of the lithographs were printed two on a page and twelve of them four to a page. The lithographs are followed by twelve pages of text, which describe briefly the subject of each of the thirty-six lithographs with some additional background material...Pencil Sketches of Colorado sold originally for $30 a copy, but it has become one of the scarcest items of Western Americana" (Taft, Artists and Illustrators of the Old West, 1850-1900, pages 72-78).

    The plates are as follows:

    1) "Snowy Range of the Rocky Mountains; From Bald Mountain, Near Nevada" (full-page, frontispiece);

    2) "Denver, City of the Plains" (full-page);

    3) "F Street, Denver" (full-page);

    4) "Blake Street, Denver, Colorado" (full-page);

    5) "Laramie Street, Denver" (full-page);

    6) "Golden City" (full-page);

    7) "Black Hawk, Looking Up Gregory and Chase's Gulches" (full-page);

    8) "Central City; From the Side of Mammoth Hill Looking Up Gregory and Eureka Gulches" (full-page);

    9) "Central City; Looking Up Spring Gulch" (full-page);

    10) "Nevada, Colorado" (full-page);

    11) "Russell Gulch, Gilpin County" (half-page); and "The Chief, Squaw and Papoose, as Seen From Idaho" (half-page);

    12) "Idaho, Clear Creek County" (half-page); and "Fall River, Clear Creek County" (half-page);

    13) "The Old Mountaineer, Fall River " (half-page); and "Profile Rock, Fall River " (half-page);

    14) "Empire City, Clear Creek County from near the foot of Silver Mountain, looking towards Elizabethtown" (half-page); and "Elizabethtown, Clear Creek County. From the Griffith Tunnel" (half-page);

    15) "South Park" (full-page);

    16) "Mount Lincoln. The town of Montgomery is seen at its base" (full-page);

    17) "Twin Lakes" (full-page);

    18) "Pike's Peak and Colorado City" (full-page);

    19) "Garden of the Gods" (full-page);

    20) "Monuments, Near Monument Creek" (full-page);

    21) "Gulch Mining.-Colorado Gulch" (quarter-page); "Spanish Arastra-On

    Clear Creek" (quarter-page); and "The Stamp Process.-Mr. Sensenderfer's Mill" (quarter-page); and "Shaft or Lode Mining.-Interior of No. 1, on the Gregory, the Black Hawk Co.'s Mine" (quarter-page);

    22) [The Keith Process. Hope Gold Company's Works, four images on one sheet:] "The Ore Breaking Room.-Blake's Ore Breaker" (quarter-page); and "The Furnace" (quarter-page); and "The Ore Pit, or Drying Room," (quarter-page); and "Amalgamating Room" (quarter-page);

    23) [The Smelting Process. James E. Lyon & Co.'s Smelting Works; four images on one sheet:] a. "Ore Dressing Room-The Buddle and Jiggs" (quarter-page); and "Reverberatory Furnace," (quarter-page); and "Cupel Furnace" (quarter-page); and "Scotch Hearths" (quarter-page).

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    6th Wednesday
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