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George Catlin painting a Chief

The Spirit of Place
Part II of III

Henry James Warre. Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory. London, 1848.

Ft. Vancouver

"Ft. Vancouver." (Colored lithograph)

Indian Tomb

"Indian Tomb." (Colored lithograph)

Lt. Henry Warre was sent by the British Army to the Oregon Country in 1845 to gather intelligence on the American settlements in case the diplomatic impasse over the northwest boundary led to war between Great Britain and the United States. An accomplished watercolorist, Warre made numerous drawings on his mission which he turned into a notable book of views after the crisis had passed. His scenes of the raw settlements on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers capture the makeshift settlements struggling to emulate the eastern towns left behind, while his illustrations of Indians depict the other side of the frontier transformation.

James W. Abert. Report of Lieut. J. W. Abert, of his Examination of New Mexico, in the Years 1846-'47. Washington, 1848.

Santa Fe

"La Ciudad de Santa Fe" (Lithograph)

Santa Fe

"La Ciudad de Santa Fe" (Handcolored lithograph)

Less than one year after his survey of the Arkansas River Valley, James Abert returned to the Southwest, this time in the wake of the Mexican War. When illness prevented Abert from accompanying the "Army of the West" to California, General Stephen Watts Kearney assigned him responsibility for surveying the newly conquered territory of New Mexico. His report, published by Congress in several different forms in 1848, remains a classic for its description of the Hispanic and Native American cultures of the region. The present, extra-illustrated copy, appears to have been specially prepared by Abert, for in addition to the usual set of lithographs based on his field sketches, the copy includes a suite of hand-colored plates. Some of the colored plates come from the volume as shown by the pair of images reproduced above. Others of the colored plates are not represented in the standard volume.
Additional handcolored Abert lithographs

Henry Lewis. Das Illustrirte Mississippithal...vom Wasserfalle zu St. Anthony an bis zum Golf von Mexico. Dusseldorf, 1854-58.

Artist's encampment

"Artist's Encampment." (Chromolithograph)

Lewis traveled along the Mississippi from Minnesota to New Orleans in 1847 and 1848, making numerous sketches and watercolors of the scenery on and along the river. His goal was to produce a painted panorama of the river, which has now disappeared; it was evidently 500 yards long and showed the entire length of the River. In 1851 Lewis retired to his native Germany, where he produced the present work to give German emigrants a better idea of America, at the same time putting in book form his river scenes designed to show the feeling of life on the Mississippi.

Charles A. Dana. The United States Illustrated. New York, 1855.

Washington's tomb

Unknown artist, "The Tomb of Washington." (Steel engraving)

As leisure travel increased in the 1840's and '50's, sentimental Victorian tourists singled out places which evoked particular emotions. Burial places were high on their lists, and Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Boston, at once a park and a place of interment, was a must-see for any visitor to that city. Foremost among gravesites was the tomb of Washington at Mt. Vernon. Here the visitor could contemplate the quiet simplicity of the place as an inspiration for reconciling the political forces disrupting the Union; "...the altar on which discord is hushed and antipathies are buried is the grave at Mount Vernon."

The Spirit of Place, Part III

Encountering Native Americans
Customs of the Country
Valor and Endurance
An Analytic Eye
The Sublime and the Picturesque

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