London: Robert Sayer, 1757 / 1825. I. Noual. Folio, hand colored engraving, 12.7” x 17.6”. Old paper backing, margins trimmed but ample, overall nearly fine. Item #100244
A quintessential colonial American town view accomplished by seaman and resident Nicholas Garrison in 1756. Bethlehem was settled by a group of Moravian exiles seeking religious freedom in 1740. The group, led by Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf, chose an idyllic spot at the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania to construct their village, farm and provide missionary service. This close-knit group erected simple yet orderly block structures as the center their serene agrarian society that garnered much attention in colonial American. Prominent admirers included Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Hancock and Samuel Adams among others including Europeans. The Moravians credited Franklin with controlling refugees and keeping the peace during the French and Indian War.
Garrison’s original view was engraved and printed at Bethlehem in 1757 and is superlatively rare today existing in only three known examples, two of which are held at the Moravian Archives and a third which we authenticated some years ago. The print enjoyed immense popularity through the Revolutionary War well into the first half of the nineteenth century. This imprint is a later third state printing with minor alterations from the second 1784 state being impressed on laid paper bearing an 1825 watermark.
Hannah Callender in her 1761 diary commented of Bethlehem “all their buildings and things for use are made strong and lasting”. Hannah’s words ring true 256 years later as most all of the block buildings depicted remain in good standing.
Ref: Stokes-Haskell B-67; Deak 107; Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce “First 100 Years” p.93; George Vaux “Extracts from the diary of Hannah Callender” p.449.