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View, New Jersey, Princeton University, Nassau Hall, Antique Print, c. 1860

$1,500

F. Childs (after)
Robertson, Seibert & Shearman (act. 1854-1861) (lithographers and printers)
View of Nassau Hall, Princeton, N.J.
George Thompson, Princeton, New Jersey: c. 1860
Lithograph, printed in colors
14 x 19.5 inches, ruled border
17.5 x 22.75 inches, overall
$1,500

Sunlit view of Nassau Hall, a national landmark building on the campus of Princeton University that dates back to 1756, when it housed the entirety of what was then called the College of New Jersey. The view takes in the front fa├žade and the quadrangle and surrounding buildings. Pedestrians walk the paths and the sidewalk, as an elegant carriage drawn by two horses passes on the street outside the gate. The time of year appears to be early autumn, with leaves beginning to turn beneath a pale blue sky with puffy clouds. The image has rounded corners at the top and is enclosed within a pale blue ruled border that follows the image contours. Aside from the ivy that now grows on its walls, the building looks much the same now as in this 19th-century rendering.

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Description

The largest stone building as well as the largest academic building in the American colonies, Nassau Hall figured in the history of the American Revolution, when it was used as barracks by both American and British forces, and eventually surrendered by the occupying British army to General George Washington after the Battle of Princeton in 1777. In 1783, it served as the temporary capitol for the Continental Congress for six months and was where Congress first learned Britain had signed the peace treaty that gave the United States its independence. The interior was destroyed by fire twice, in 1802 and 1855; this print is one of the earliest depictions of its restoration following the second fire, when Benjamin Latrobe changed the building’s style to Federal and raised the belfry to add a clock.

Robertson, Seibert & Shearman was a New York lithography firm initially founded as Robertson & Seibert by Alexander Robertson and Henry Seibert and joined by James A Shearman in 1859. They apparently specialized in architectural views, including the U.S. Capitol, Mt. Vernon, Nassau Hall at Princeton University, and town views such as one of Saginaw City, Michigan.

Full publication information: “Lith. & Printed in colours by Robertson, Seibert & Shearman 93 Fulton St. N.Y. Published by George Thompson.”

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, also chip in lower left corner tipped in. The original colors remaining fresh and bright; otherwise with light remaining toning and wear, and faint pale scattered minor foxing in outer margins.

References:

“Nassau Hall.” Princetonia, Princeton University. 2019. https://princetoniana.princeton.edu/campus/nassau-hall (8 November 2019).

“Nassau Hall, Princeton University.” Princeton University Art Museum. 2019. https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/campus-art/places/18353 (8 November 2019).

Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 335-336.

Additional information

Century

19th Century