View, New York City, Henry Rile, Brooklyn, Churches in Manhattan, Antique Drawings, 1914
Henry E. Rile
New York in the Days Gone By of Old
Pen and ink and pencil on paper
New York: c. 1914
Most on sheet measuring 11 x 14 inches, a few smaller
Various Drawings Shown Left
Governors House and Church in Fort under the Dutch
Church of the Messiah, Broadway, 1867
First Brick House in the City: Sold
First Reformed Dutch Church Brooklyn, 1766
Toll Gate on Road from Williamsburg to Jamaica, 1894
Henry E. Rile drew this series of views of places in Manhattan at the turn of the century. Some of the drawings were on site, and others were based on historical prints that had been published in the 19th Century in New York City annual Corporation Manuals and other sources. Together, Rile’s drawings record the City of old, from famous landmark buildings, churches, and mansions to simple tenements uptown. Commerce and bridges on the East, Hudson, and Harlem rivers are documented. The financial district Wall Street area, Castle Garden in the Battery, and midtown, from the late 19th Century to the turn of the Century are well represented. Scarce views of the Upper East Side include a stone mansion known as Smith’s Folly on 61st Street and First Avenue, and an African-American Church on 85th Street near Second Avenue.
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Rile’s style shows great attention to detail, mixed with a folk art quality, that imbues them with his love for the City. These drawings possibly served as a proposed manuscript for a book, though they were not published.
From a uniform series, most titled and signed by artist. Some of the drawings have images drawn directly on entire sheet, size of image varies leaving margins, but generally image fills page well. Some of the drawings have images on a separate sheet, mounted to the larger 11 x 14 inch sheet; size of image varies leaving margins, but generally image fills page well. Some images vertical; some horizontal. Outer margins on a few chipped, generally easily matted out. Some images uniformly browned. Some scattered foxing, short tears in margins, not obtrusive.