Lewis, James Otto. [The Aboriginal Portfolio]. First edition of a scarce work
LEWIS, JAMES OTTO
[THE ABORIGINAL PORTFOLIO]. [PHILADELPHIA: LEHMAN & DUVAL, 1835-1836]
Folio (17 3/4 x 10 1/4 in.; 451 x 260 mm). Three letterpress advertisement leaves, 72 hand-colored lithographed plates after Lewis by Lehman & Duval. Expertly bound to style in dark purple morocco over purple cloth covered boards, spine with raised bands in six compartments, second gilt lettered, marbled paper endpapers.
First edition. Scarcer than McKenney and Hall's History of the Indian Tribes, Prince Maximilian's Reise in das Innere von Nord-America, or Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, Lewis' work records the dress of the Potawatomi, Winnebago, Shawnee, Sioux, Miami, Fox, Iowa and other tribes at treaties of Prairie du Chien, Fort Wayne, Fond du Lac and Green Bay.
The Aboriginal Port Folio was published in Philadelphia by lithographers George Lehman and Peter S. Duval. It was issued in ten parts, with each part containing eight plates. Given the size of the undertaking the first nine parts were issued remarkably quickly, and appeared monthly between May 1835 and January 1836. The reason for this haste is probably that Lewis was aware that the imminent appearance of the first part of McKenney and Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America would adversely affect his subscriber-numbers. The evidence of the surviving copies suggests that his fears were well-founded as there are a number of sets made up from eight parts (with 64 plates), but very few with nine parts (72 plates), and ten-part sets with the full complement of a frontispiece/title-leaf and eighty plates are virtually never found: only the Siebert copy is listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty-five years, and there are only about a half dozen or so other recorded sets (the Siebert set, and one other, are the only two examples to include the title page).
James O. Lewis was born in Philadelphia in 1799, moved west as a teenager, and had become an engraver and painter by the time he was living in St. Louis in 1820. In 1823 he moved to Detroit, and painted the first of his Indian portraits at the request of Gov. Lewis Cass of Michigan. He accompanied Cass on four Indian treaty expeditions in the Great Lakes region in 1825-27 and painted Indians during the course of each. Virtually all of the originals of the images published here were executed by Lewis in this period. Subsequently, many of the Lewis portraits were copied by Charles Bird King, and some appeared in the King versions in the McKenney and Hall portfolio. All of the Lewis originals were destroyed in the Smithsonian fire of 1865.
Bennett, 68; Eberstadt 131:418; Field 936; Howes L315; Sabin 40812; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 23; Reese, James Otto Lewis and his Aboriginal Portfolio, New Haven: 2008
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.