History of the Indian tribes of North America: with biographical sketches and anecdotes of the principal chiefs.; Embellished with one hundred and twenty portraits from the Indian Gallery in the Secretary of War, at Washington....In three volumes

Philadelphia: D. Rice & A.N. Hart, 1855. Third octavo edition, considered to be the best of the octavo editions for the superiority of its coloring. Three volumes, 120 brilliant hand-colored plates lithographed by J.T. Bowen after paintings by Charles Bird King; a superb set in publisher's deluxe binding of full red morocco elaborately gilt, a.e.g. with virtually no wear at all and with the plates in an extraordinarily fine and clean state. "These are the most colorful portraits of Indians ever executed ... The original oil paintings of which these plates were copies were all destroyed in the 1865 Smithsonian fire" (Howes M129). Field 992: "The plates are accurate portraits of celebrated chiefs, or of characteristic individuals of the race; and are colored with care, to faithfully represent their features and costumes." Sabin 43411. [Offered with Rulon-Miller Books; can be ordered from either.]. Item #19087

After his dismissal from government service in 1830, McKenney collaborated with the writer James Hall to publish with commentary the series of paintings that he had collected for the Office of Indian Affairs. McKenney and Hall's folio edition of 1836-1844 was an artistic and scientific triumph, but a financial failure, victim of the boom-and-bust economy of the 1830s and the depression which lasted until 1843. The octavo editions were a product of the economic upturn following the Mexican war in 1848, and the resource booms such as the California gold rush, both increased demand for luxury goods, and for knowledge of the country; these years saw the production of these and other classic American color plate books, which were produced by the most advanced technological combination of machine and hand work. The publishers' preface remarks on their desire "to place within the reach of thousands" this "truly national work" which in its folio format was in Europe "finding its way, under the patronage of royalty, into the circles of lords and nobles, and of the learned and wealthy"

Price: $27,500.00

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