AUCTION 23

 

First Lithographs of the Alamo from Eyewitness Drawings

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3. [ALAMO]. UNITED STATES.SECRETARY OF WAR (W.L. Marcy). [Government document cover leaf] Report of the Secretary of War, Communicating, in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate, a Map showing the Operations of the Army of the United States in Texas and the Adjacent Mexican State on the Rio Grande; accompanied by Astronomical Observations, and Descriptive and Military Memoirs of the Country. March 1, 1849. Read. February 18, 1850. Ordered to be Printed, and that 250 Additional Copies be Printed for the use of the Topographical Bureau. [Half-title] Memoir Descriptive of the March of a Division of the United States Army, under the Command of Brigadier General John E. Wool, from San Antonio de Bexar, in Texas, to Saltillo, in Mexico. By George W[urtz] Hughes, Captain Corps Topographical Engineers, Chief of the Topographical Staff. 1846. [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1850]. 31st Congress, 1st Session, Senate Executive Document 32. [1-4] 5-67 [1, blank] pp., 8 lithograph plates (after watercolors by Edward Everett), 2 folding lithograph maps. 8vo (22.8 x 14.3 cm). Dark brown calf over marbled boards, gilt-lettered red leather spine label. Occasional light foxing, otherwise fine.

Maps

Map Showing the Line of March of the Centre Division Army of Mexico, under the Command of Brigr.Genl. John E. Wool, from San Antonio de Bexar, Texas, to Saltillo, Mexico....1846. Neat line to neat line: 49 x 46.3 cm; overall sheet size: 60 x 48 cm. A bit of light foxing at top left, else very fine.

Map Showing the Route of the Arkansas Regiment from Shreveport La to San Antonio de Bexar Texas. Neat line to neat line: 29.5 x 43.6 cm. (extending above neat line at top right); overall sheet size: 30.2 x 47.1 cm. Very fine.

Plates

San Antonio de Bexar 1846 [lower right, below neat line] C.B. Graham, Lithog. Neat line to neat line: 10.3 x 16.9 cm; image & title: 11.4 x 16.9 cm. Light foxing, mainly confined to blank margins, otherwise fine.

Ruins of the Church of the Alamo, San Antonio de Bexar. Scale 10 feet to an Inch. [below neat line] Drawn by Edwd. Everett | C.B. Graham, Lithog. Neat line to neat line: 10.3 x 16.9 cm; image & title: 11.4 x 16.9 cm. Very light foxing, mainly confined to blank margins, otherwise fine.

Interior View of the Church of the Alamo. [below neat line] Drawn by Edwd. Everett | C.B. Graham, Lithog. Washn. Neat line to neat line: 10.3 x 16.9 cm; image & title: 11.4 x 16.9 cm. Very light foxing, mostly confined to blank margins, otherwise fine.

Plan of the Ruins of the Alamo near San Antonio de Bexar 1846. Drawn by Edwd. Everett. Overall sheet size: 22.5 x 14 cm. Other than a few light foxmarks, very fine.

Mission Concepcion, near San Antonio de Bexar [below neat line] C.B. Graham, Lithog. | Drawn by Edwd. Everett. Neat line to neat line: 10.3 x 17 cm; image & title: 11.5 x 17 cm. Minor foxing, else fine.

Mission of San Jose near San Antonio de Bexar [below neat line] Drawn by Edwd. Everett | C.B. Graham, Lithog. Neat line to neat line: 10.4 x 16.9 cm; image & title: 11.3 x 16.9 cm. Light foxing mainly confined to blank margins, otherwise fine.

Church near Monclova. [lower right, below border] C.B. Graham, Lithog. Neat line to neat line: 10.3 x 16.9 cm; image & title: 11.3 x 16.9 cm. Light foxing mainly confined to blank margins, otherwise very fine.

Watch Tower near Monclova. [lower right, below border]: C.B. Graham, Lithog. Neat line to neat line: 10.3 x 16.9 cm; image & title: 11.3 x 16.9 cm. Light foxing mainly confined to blank margins, otherwise fine.

     First edition (often this report is described as a limited edition of 250 copies, but the statement on the document is that 250 additional copies were printed for the use of the Topographical Bureau). Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War, p. 296. Howes H767. Raines, p. 121. Sandweiss, Stewart & Huseman, Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, pp. 132-134, Illustrations 18, 19 & 20 (first, second, and next-to-last plates listed above). Schoelwer, Alamo Images: Changing Perceptions of a Texas Experience, pp. 22, 29, 32, 34, 36, 46 (reproduction of second plate listed above, Ruins of the Church of the Alamo, San Antonio de Bexar), 47 & Plate 3 (illustrating Everett’s original watercolor used to make the third plate listed above, Interior View of the Church of the Alamo). Tate 2196: “Contains brief assessment of Indian tribes, especially Comanche and Lipan Apache attacks along the borderlands.” Tutorow 1634. See also: Richard E. Ahlborn, San Antonio Missions: Edward Everett and the American Occupation, 1847 (Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, 1985).

     Some of the lithographs in this work, including the Alamo images, are after the work of London-born artist Edward Everett (1818–1903), who came to the United States in 1840 and served in the Mormon War and the Mexican-American War. “His landscape sketches resemble those produced by the Hudson River School artists. Despite definite artistic ability, Everett identified himself as a ‘mechanical engineer’” (Handbook of Texas Online: Edward Everett).

     With thanks to Dr. Ron Tyler for the following superb notes from his preliminary study of nineteenth-century lithographs of Texas:

The other Mexican war lithographs that relate to Texas are the work of Sergeant Edward Everett, a member of the Quincy Riflemen, First Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, who arrived at Port Lavaca in August, 1846, with General John E. Wool’s Centre Division of Taylor’s Army of Occupation. With Wool’s army, Everett marched to San Antonio over roads made boggy by twenty days of rain that fell in late July and early August. After recovering from the arduous march, he began to describe his surroundings in the “military frontier post” in which he found himself. “The place was highly picturesque, being irregularly built, and having an Oriental style... from the Moors of Old Spain,” he noted. Because of his interest in architecture, he was quickly assigned the task of “making drawings of buildings and objects of interest, particularly...of San Antonio,” and was given leaves of absence when necessary to accomplish his work.

In September Everett made his first drawing of the now-famous Alamo, which had been the subject for several other artists, and was then in ruins. Then he turned to the more architecturally interesting Mission San José, “remarkable,” he noted, “for its façade, which was elaborately carved in stone, scroll work, supporting statues of the Virgin and Saints, surrounding the entrance and the central window.”

Everett’s documentation of the missions was interrupted on September 11, when he was wounded in a fandango fracas while on guard duty. He spent the next month in bed and was unable to accompany General Wool’s command when it marched off to Mexico. Everett was reassigned to the Quartermaster’s Department and the following spring participated in the renovation of the Alamo so that it could be used by the military as storehouse, offices, and workshops. He also did a watercolor of Mission Concepción before he received his honorable discharge in June, 1847.

Maj. George W. Hughes, chief topographical engineer for Gen. Wool, included four lithographs of Everett’s watercolors, Ruins of the Church of the Alamo, Interior View of the Church of the Alamo, Mission Concepción near San Antonio de Bexar, and Mission of San Jose near San Antonio de Bexar, in his published report of Wool’s march to Mexico. Among the eight lithographs in the book, Hughes also included a view of San Antonio by an unidentified artist, two pictures made near Monclova, Coahuila, and a plan of the Alamo by Everett. Curtis Burr Graham of Washington, who had successfully bid on the lithographic illustrations for James W. Abert’s report on New Mexico and William H. Emory’s Notes of a Military Reconnoissance, from Fort Leavenworth, in Missouri, to San Diego, in California in 1848, made the lithographs for Hughes’ report as well.

The lithograph of the Alamo façade made after Everett’s watercolor, now in the Amon Carter Museum collection, was not the first published picture of the famous structure, but it was the first to be lithographed from an eye-witness drawing. Drawn on the stone by Graham, the lithograph is a faithful copy of the watercolor, but does have some differences, notably that the bright façade has been darkened and the rocks and foliage rearranged by the lithographer.

The interior of the Alamo, drawn from the north looking westward through the nave and over the interior wall of the façade, is a more interesting composition. Perhaps with an eye toward the restoration that would soon be undertaken, Everett recorded some of the details of the interior still intact, despite the poundings of several battles. Most obvious is the extent of damage and deterioration, but also apparent, as Richard E. Ahlborn points out, are significant architectural details such as the place of each voussoir in the recessed arch of the north transept, recesses for supporting stones for the choir loft, and the doorway to the baptistry. Beyond the wall, Everett showed the dome of San Fernando church as well as the roofs of a few houses around the Main Plaza of old San Antonio across the San Antonio River.

The picture of Mission Concepción is somewhat confusing because Everett shows vaulted rooms to the right of the façade that apparently cannot be correlated to a plan drawn in 1890; however, the view is quite similar to a picture made two years later by the soldier-artist Seth Eastman. Everett also provides the first documentation of the mission’s painted façade, which is lost in the print because it is not reproduced in color.

The lithograph of San José, the most architecturally elaborate of the San Antonio missions, is, in Ahlborn’s words of “a ponderous, lonely structure” that is something of a change from Everett’s original watercolor, which was much brighter. Again, there are details that cannot be correlated to the mission as it now stands, but, in all, the Everett watercolors, and lithographs made from them, are substantial documents of the missions at a time of considerable abuse and neglect.

The San Antonio de Bexar lithograph—probably also from a view by Everett although he specifically receives credit on the other four, but not on this one—shows the city from the northern bank of the river as it curves around the eastern side of the city. The artist’s perspective is the northwest side of the city looking in a southwesterly direction. San Fernando church can be seen dominating the horizon line in the distance.

($750-1,500)

Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $918.75.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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