Section VI. Philadelphia on Stone: Panoramic, Bird’s Eye, and Cityscape Views

The literal and figurative picture of 19th-century Philadelphia would be vastly different if not for the lithographers of the city. From the first decade of the commercial trade, panoramic and cityscape and later bird’s eye views of Philadelphia comprised a segment of the print market. As the city continued to expand beyond the areas focused upon by J. C. Wild in his innovative 1838 Panoramas of Philadelphia from the State House Steeple, Philadelphia lithographers documented this evolution. The increasingly commercial face of the center of the city, the development of West Philadelphia, and the growing number of factories, railroads, bridges, and public works representing the transition of the city from a seaport into an urban center were all chronicled by lithographic artists. The following lithographs provide not only a lens onto the changing landscape and architecture of 19th-century Philadelphia over the decades, but also the culture of the period.


Click on the thumbnails below to browse the items in this section of the exhibition.


John Caspar Wild, Panorama of Philadelphia from the State House Steeple. East.  Crayon lithograph in Views of Philadelphia, and Its Vicinity (Philadelphia: [J. T. Bowen], 1838). Gift of Charles A. Poulson.


David S. Quintin, United States Hotel Chesnut Street, Philadelphia (Philadelphia: P. S. Duval, Lith, ca. 1840). Crayon lithograph.


J. W. Hill and Benjamin F. Smith, Jr., Philadelphia, from Girard College, - 1850 ([New York]: Francis Smith, 1850). Lithographed by B. F. Smith Jr. Printed in tints by F. Michelin. Crayon lithograph, tinted with two stones.


[Swaim’s Building, S. E. Corner of Chestnut and Seventh Streets (Philadelphia, ca. 1850)]. Crayon lithograph, hand-colored. Gift of Charles A. Poulson.


John Bachmann, Bird’s Eye View of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Published by J. [Weik], [1857]). Printed by P. S. Duval & Son’s lith. Crayon lithograph, tinted and hand-colored. Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.


Herline & Co., Microscopic View of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Published by John Weik, 1869). Engraving on stone, hand-colored.


Christian Inger, Birdseye View of Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, with the Buildings of the International Exhibition 1876 (Philadelphia: Published by C. Inger & Hensel, 1875). Printed by Thomas Hunter. Chromolithograph.


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