Hayden, Ferdinand V.
The Yellowstone National Park, and the Mountain Regions of Portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. Boston: L. Prang and Company, 1876
Folio (535 x 455 mm) 15 finely chromolithographed plates after Thomas Moran by Louis Prang (each approximately 248 x 356 mm, or the reverse) printed on heavy stock and tipped to card, 2 lithographed maps after Hayden by Prang; the plates remaining fine and vibrant with only light staining in the margins of three mounts, title spotted and worn with short splits and closed tears to bottom edge, text with scattered light spotting and intermittent wear to edges with occasional minor loss, maps with loss to fore-margins not affecting images, mounts unspotted but minor loss to a few corners. Publisher's morocco and red pebbled cloth, gilt title to upper cover; spine perished, disbound, corners exposed.
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Thomas Moran's exquisite Western views,
Comprising: Gardiners River Hot Springs; The Great Blue Spring of the Lower Geyser Basin; The Castle Geyser: Upper Geyser Basin; The Lower Yellowstone Range; Yellowstone Lake; Tower Falls and Sulphur Mountain; Head of the Yellowstone River; The Grand Cañon of the Yellowstone; The towers of Tower Falls; The Mountain of the Holy Cross, Colorado; The Mosquito Trail, Rocky Mountains of Colorado; The Summit of the Sierras; The Great Falls of Snake River, Idaho Territory; Valley of the Bubbling Waters, southern Utah; The Great Salt Lake of Utah.
F. V. Hayden headed the United States Geological Survey during the period it was investigating the mountain regions of the West. Artist Thomas Moran accompanied the Hayden expedition to Yellowstone in 1871, making many drawings on location. The fifteen watercolors here reproduced by Prang were among the earliest pictorial records of the spectacular landscapes of the then-unexplored region, and they remain among the best representations of what became the country's first national park.
The reproductions of the paintings are extraordinary productions in their own right, using as many as 56 layers from color lithographic stones to recreate the depth and grandeur of the American West. According to Bennett, "hand work could never give the effect of perspective and distance achieved in the towering scenes reproduced here."
Moran and Prang's collaborative effort was celebrated from the time of its publication; approximately 1000 sets were sold at a price of sixty dollars. In his preface, Hayden lauded the work as "a just subject for national pride," as well as a revelation for Easterners who knew the region only from prose descriptions or black and white illustrations: "deprived of color … the scenery of Yellowstone it may truly be said … is like Hamlet with the part of Hamlet omitted.… So strange, indeed, are the freaks of color which nature indulges in habitually in this wonderful country, that it will no doubt require strong faith on the part of the reader in the truthfulness of both artist and writer to accept the statements made in the present volume by pen as well as by the brush."
Given the beauty of the plates, complete sets are now very uncommon on the market.
"The greatest American landscape book of the post-Civil War era." (Reese)