After Thomas Cartwright
English, active c. 1792–1816
After George Beck
American, b. England, 1748–1812
Etching and engraving on steel with hand coloring, second state of two, 4 1/8 x 6 5/8 inches
Published in volume 4 of G. N. Wright, A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer (London: Thomas Kelly, Paternoster Row, 1837)
Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager
So far as we’re aware, Samuel Davenport spent his entire career as printmaker in London. When he was engaged to illustrate an article on Philadelphia for G. N. Wright’s Gazetteer, he must then have relied on another image to produce this charming view featuring the Penn Treaty Elm. A credible source is the remarkably similar composition drawn in 1800 by George Beck and engraved by Thomas Cartwright for a series of American scenes published in London starting in 1801 (see image below). The key to the connection is provided by the cannons placed along the dock in both images, an unlikely presence in Philadelphia during the 1830s but essential for the city’s defense in 1800, when the United States was still fighting an undeclared war with France.