An East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia taken by George Heap from the Jersey Shore

George Heap and Nicholas Scull

Published by Gerard Vandergucht, 1754
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An East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia taken by George Heap from the Jersey Shore Published, London, 1754 Engraving by Gerard Vandergucht Set of 4 Size: 20 1/8 x 80 1/8" References: Martin P. Snyder, City of Independence: Views of Philadelphia Before 1800, 42-44; E. McSherry Fowble, Two Centuries of Prints in America: 1680-1880, A Selective Catalogue of the Winterthur Museum Collection, 23; Gloria G. Deak, Picturing America, 1497-1899, 99 ("largest and most important of the early engraved views of Philadelphia"); Nicholas B. Wainwright, "The Scull-Heap East trospect of Philadelphia," in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 73, pp.16, 22-25; Stokes 6k Haskell, American Historical Prints, p. 18. Founded in 1680 on a site between the Delaware and the Schuylkill Rivers, Philadelphia was ideally situated for trade and by the mid 18th century, it had become the principal port on the Atlantic coast as well as the commercial and administrative hub of William Penn's province of Pennsylvania. In 1750, Thomas Penn, son of the founder, requested "a perspective view of the city," as a dramatic advertisement to attract more entrepreneurs, merchants and settlers to the city. George Heap, an accomplished local artist, undertook a detailed rendering, from the perspective of the New Jersey side of the Delaware. In 1752, he and the surveyor of the province, Nicholas Scull, advertised for advance subscribers to an engraving after Heap's drawing. But as he was about to sail for London to have his rendering engraved on copper, Heap suddenly died. Scull took over the project and, in London, entrusted the drawing to the highly regarded Flemish-born engraver, Gerard Vandergucht (1696-1766). The completed engraving was on a monumental scale, requiring four large folio sheets, when joined measuring 82 x 20 inches. It accurately depicts the bustling waterfront of Philadelphia, a windmill on an island and many sailing vessels, pennants flying, plying the broad river. The Penn family coat-of-arms is shown at the bottom of sheet 3, along with dedication to proprietors Thomas and Richard Penn. Sheet 4 features a detailed key, identifying streets, the Courthouse, the Statehouse (Independence Hall), a large number of steepled churches and the recently founded Academy (later the University of Pennsylvania). As Martin Snyder has written, "the use of almost seven feet of paper to portray less than a mile of waterfront, from present-day South Street to Vine Street permitted the details that is its great feature." The Scull-Heap print provides a unique view of the city that would become, a few years later, the seat of the Continental Congress and later, the capital of the newly independent nation. The grand image-the largest and most artistically significant view of any American city of its period-proved tremendously popular, and an initial press run of 500 copies was soon followed by a second of 250 copies (these with the corrected "Scull reading). Clearly, as Snyder writes, "the ravages of time upon such a giant and indeed unwieldy picture readily ; '"count for its extreme rarity today." The Scull-Heap engraving was not held in many important collections (Thomas W. Streeter, the Hon. J. William Middendorf, Laird Park, Pflaumer, Jay T. Snider) and we have located only six copies in American institutions: Colonial Williamsburg; Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2 copies, one in poor condition); Independence National Historic Park; New York Public Library (the I.N. Stokes copy); Winterthur Museum. Bookseller Inventory # 002410

Bibliographic Details

Title: An East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia...
Publisher: Gerard Vandergucht
Publication Date: 1754
Binding: N/A
Book Condition: Very Good

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1.

SCULL, Nicholas and George HEAP
Published by Thomas Jefferys, London (1756)
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Book Description Thomas Jefferys, London, 1756. Black and white copper-engraving. Very nice condition. Trimmed within platemark on left side. One of the most important colonial American city views. In 1750, Thomas Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, wrote to his agent in the province, Richard Peters, expressing a desire for "a perspective of the city [of Philadelphia], either from the Jersey shore or the Windmill Island". Under Peters' direction, several unsuccessful attempts were made to construct a drawing, but no artist in the city proved up to the task until it was taken on by George Heap, who had recently completed a landmark elevation of the Statehouse. Heap's great drawing was sent to Penn by Nicholas Scull, the Surveyor General of Pennsylvania (1748-61), and was engraved and printed in London in 1754 from four large copper-plates. The resulting view measured 82 x 20 inches, and was the "most ambitious effort at picturing an American city made before the Revolution." (Snyder, p. 43.) The great four-sheet view proved unsatisfactory in several ways. The size was unwieldy, and it was expensive to produce. More importantly, it did not satisfy one of Penn's primary criteria: it omitted the Jersey shore from the foreground, and did not clearly show the city as a river port. In 1756, Penn had Thomas Jefferys engrave and publish this corrected version on one oversized sheet. Although reduced to slightly less than half of its former length, the view of the city is virtually identical to that on the four-sheet version. The view extends from present-day South Street to Vine Street, with the existing city shown in great detail. A number of steeples break the skyline, including those of the Statehouse (Independence Hall) at left, and Christ Church at center. Below the view is text entitled "A Description of the Situation Harbour &c. of the City and Port of Philadelphia", with a key that identifies 14 important sites, including the Quaker Meeting House, the Statehouse, Christ Church, the Dutch Calvinist Church, High Street, the Academy, the Presbyterian Church, Chestnut Street, etc. Jefferys has added the Jersey shore, and redesigned the placement and form of the ships in the river. Most importantly, he has added three new features below the map. At lower left is a large-scale map of the city that measures 8 x 18". The source for this map is unknown, but it is important, as it is the first map of Philadelphia to show advances on the Holme plan of 1683. For the first time, individual buildings are shown and named, and the new streets along the Delaware have been added in. Snyder describes it as not only "the first to show points within the city", but the first to show the city in "factual terms", by which he means that non-existent features of the Holme plan have been eliminated, such as the large central square. At lower right is a version of Heap's view of the Statehouse (Independence Hall), only the second appearance of the elevation in print. The building would become a symbol of Philadelphia, and play an instrumental part in the making of the nation. At center is a view of "The Battery," the formidable defensive works on the river just south of the city. ("The Battery' had been shown on the 1754 view in an inset.) This reduced version, which is quite rare in its own right, is the only obtainable version of Scull and Heap's view of Philadelphia. The four-sheet view survives in just four examples, all in institutions, including one at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Snyder, City of Independence , pps. 44-47; Wainwright, "Scull and Heap's East Prospect of Philadelphia", Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 73, pps. 16, 22-25; Stokes & Haskell, American Historical Prints , p. 18. Seller Inventory # 15312

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2.

Nicholas Scull and George Heap
Published by Thomas Jefferys, London
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Book Description Thomas Jefferys, London. N/A. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: N/A. Black and white copper-engraving (1754-68). Sheet size: 22 3/4 x 38". Inventory#: p405pmat. "Probably the finest view of an American city made before the Revolution" (Swift and McCusker). It was separately issued in 1754, and also appeared in Jeffrey's "A General Topography of North America", 1768. Both issues are very rare. The Sheet consists of a grand view of Philadelphia from the New Jersey shore along the upper margin (the "East Prospect"), which is admirably supplemented by a plan of the city (lower left), and fine views of "The State House" (lower right), and "The Battery" (lower center). The view proper (the "East Prospect") is adapted from Scull and Heap's mammoth earlier view of the city on six sheets, 1754, but with revisions suggested in the main by Thomas Penn. The size was reduced to one large but manageable sheet, the supplementary views and plan were added, and the view itself revised to include the Jersey shore of the Delaware River. The latter alteration was made so that the city would clearly be seen as a protected river port. 0. Seller Inventory # 377

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George Heap and Nicholas Scull
Published by Gerard Vandergucht, London (1754)
Used Quantity Available: 1
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Arader Galleries of Philadelphia, PA
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Book Description Gerard Vandergucht, London, 1754. N/A. Condition: Very Good. An East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia taken by George Heap from the Jersey Shore Published, London, 1754 Engraving by Gerard Vandergucht Set of 4 Size: 20 1/8 x 80 1/8" References: Martin P. Snyder, City of Independence: Views of Philadelphia Before 1800, 42-44; E. McSherry Fowble, Two Centuries of Prints in America: 1680-1880, A Selective Catalogue of the Winterthur Museum Collection, 23; Gloria G. Deak, Picturing America, 1497-1899, 99 ("largest and most important of the early engraved views of Philadelphia"); Nicholas B. Wainwright, "The Scull-Heap East trospect of Philadelphia," in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 73, pp.16, 22-25; Stokes 6k Haskell, American Historical Prints, p. 18. Founded in 1680 on a site between the Delaware and the Schuylkill Rivers, Philadelphia was ideally situated for trade and by the mid 18th century, it had become the principal port on the Atlantic coast as well as the commercial and administrative hub of William Penn's province of Pennsylvania. In 1750, Thomas Penn, son of the founder, requested "a perspective view of the city," as a dramatic advertisement to attract more entrepreneurs, merchants and settlers to the city. George Heap, an accomplished local artist, undertook a detailed rendering, from the perspective of the New Jersey side of the Delaware. In 1752, he and the surveyor of the province, Nicholas Scull, advertised for advance subscribers to an engraving after Heap's drawing. But as he was about to sail for London to have his rendering engraved on copper, Heap suddenly died. Scull took over the project and, in London, entrusted the drawing to the highly regarded Flemish-born engraver, Gerard Vandergucht (1696-1766). The completed engraving was on a monumental scale, requiring four large folio sheets, when joined measuring 82 x 20 inches. It accurately depicts the bustling waterfront of Philadelphia, a windmill on an island and many sailing vessels, pennants flying, plying the broad river. The Penn family coat-of-arms is shown at the bottom of sheet 3, along with dedication to proprietors Thomas and Richard Penn. Sheet 4 features a detailed key, identifying streets, the Courthouse, the Statehouse (Independence Hall), a large number of steepled churches and the recently founded Academy (later the University of Pennsylvania). As Martin Snyder has written, "the use of almost seven feet of paper to portray less than a mile of waterfront, from present-day South Street to Vine Street permitted the details that is its great feature." The Scull-Heap print provides a unique view of the city that would become, a few years later, the seat of the Continental Congress and later, the capital of the newly independent nation. The grand image-the largest and most artistically significant view of any American city of its period-proved tremendously popular, and an initial press run of 500 copies was soon followed by a second of 250 copies (these with the corrected "Scull reading). Clearly, as Snyder writes, "the ravages of time upon such a giant and indeed unwieldy picture readily ; '"count for its extreme rarity today." The Scull-Heap engraving was not held in many important collections (Thomas W. Streeter, the Hon. J. William Middendorf, Laird Park, Pflaumer, Jay T. Snider) and we have located only six copies in American institutions: Colonial Williamsburg; Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2 copies, one in poor condition); Independence National Historic Park; New York Public Library (the I.N. Stokes copy); Winterthur Museum. Seller Inventory # 2167

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