Philadelphia on Stone

Commercial Lithography in Philadelphia, 18281878

Edited by Erika Piola

Hardback - £41.95

Publication date:

22 October 2012

Length of book:

320 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271052526

Philadelphia on Stone is the first work in over fifty years to examine the history of nineteenth-century commercial lithography in Philadelphia. The capstone to the Library Company of Philadelphia’s multifaceted Philadelphia on Stone project, this heavily illustrated volume of thematic essays provides an analysis of the social, economic, and technological changes in the local trade from 1828 to 1878; biographies of premier lithographers P. S. Duval and James Queen; and new insights about genres of lithographs pertaining to book illustration, advertising, sensational news, and landscape imagery.

Illustrated with more than 130 full-color images, the text will appeal to local historians, scholars of printing history, and those studying visual and popular culture, advertising, and economic history. The depicted advertisements, cityscape and bird’s-eye views, disaster prints, and zoological illustrations document Philadelphia while showcasing the skilled work of the city’s lithographers. Philadelphia on Stone highlights the finesse and allure of the lithographic process, which radically altered the visual landscape of Philadelphia and the country.

Philadelphia on Stone demonstrates very clearly the key role that Philadelphia played in the history of American lithography in the nineteenth century. The eight essays interweave to tell a complex and compelling story that encompasses many different aspects of the nineteenth-century lithographic printing trade: landscape prints and city views, portraits, prints that depict sensational news events, illustrations for books and periodicals, and a vast panoply of advertising work. The biographical essays on the artist James Queen and the lithographer and publisher Peter S. Duval bring to life two men of extraordinary talent who were responsible for Philadelphia’s unique contribution to the evolution of lithography. Much of what Erika Piola and her colleagues have to say about lithography in Philadelphia is equally true of lithography as it developed in other cities across the nation, and so this book, which sets out to recount what happened in a specific place, comes very close to being a comprehensive history of lithography in America as a whole. It is sure to become a classic.”

—Nancy Finlay, Curator of Graphics, The Connecticut Historical Society