Lot 125
  • 125

Moran, Thomas, and William Henry Holmes [illustrators] — Clarence E. Dutton

8,000 - 10,000 USD
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  • Tertiary History of the Grand Cañon district. [with:] Atlas to accompany the monograph on the tertiary history of the Grand Cañon district. Washington and New York: [text:] Government Printing Office, [atlas:] Julius Bien & Co. of New York, 1882
  • paper, ink, leather
ILLUSTRATION: Text: 42 plates, plans, and maps, including 2 chromolithographed views by Sinclair after Holmes, 17 wood-engraved views, 8 of which after Thomas Moran, 9 after Holmes, 4 "Heliotype" plates, 10 double-page.  Atlas: title, letterpress text, otherwise lithographed throughout, 12 double-page map-sheets after Dutton (11 printed in colors), 10 double-page sheets of views after Holmes (9) and Moran (1) (5 chromolithographed and 5 printed in tints), all printed by Julius Bien & Co., and mounted on guards throughout.

2 volumes, quarto (11 1/2 x 9 in.; 292 x 228 mm) and folio (19 7/8 x 17 1/2 in.; 503 x 445 mm). BINDING: Expertly bound to style in deep burgundy-red half morocco over contemporary marbled paper-covered boards, spine with raised bands in six compartments, bands flanked above and below by gilt rules, lettered in the second compartment.

Minor fingersoiling to margins, closed marginal tears to a few plates, not affecting images.


Farquhar, The Books of the Colorado River & the Grand Canyon 73; Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire pp. 512-513; W.B.Reese & G.A.Miles, Creating America 40

Catalogue Note

A fine set of "one of the grandest publications of the scientific expeditions in the American West… [depicting] the Grand Canyon in a series of magnificent panoramas" (Reese & Miles. `Depicting America.' The work includes illustrations by arguably the two greatest American topographical artists to record this era of westward expansion: William Holmes and Thomas Moran.The team assembled to carry out this geological survey of the Grand Canyon included some outstanding talents: C.E.Dutton, the scientist; Jack Hilliers, the photographer and of course Holmes and Moran as artist-topographers. The intention of the survey was strictly scientific, but as Dutton writes in his preface, "I have in many places departed from the severe ascetic style which has become conventional in scientific monographs." This is also true of Moran and Holmes: both were clearly inspired by their subjects. The overall result is of a quality that would not be possible today. As Wallace Stegner wrote in his introduction to the 1977 reprint: "Later specialization has eliminated from scientific publications most of the elements that make The Tertiary History so charming. No report written as this one is written would now be published by any government bureau. No illustrators like Moran and Holmes would be permitted to illustrate it... A great book... The Tertiary History has kept its value precisely because it does not specialize."