Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania. Near Philadelphia


This hand-colored lithograph shows a view looking past farmland to the Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania. In the foreground, two boys sit in a fenced pasture in which cows graze near sheds and an enclosed pond with ducks swimming on it. In the background, a farm is visible in front of the prison at which a carriage is parked and a man rides on horseback. The penitentiary was built in 1823–36 after the designs of John Haviland and opened in an unfinished state in 1829. Located at 2101–99 Fairmount Avenue, it was one of the largest and most expensive structures of its day and was most unusual in having flush toilets and heating in the cells. George Lehman (circa 1800–70), a Swiss-born landscape artist, engraver, and lithographer, who in 1824 immigrated to the United States with his family, several of whom were also engravers, produced the original art for this print. The lithograph was made in about 1833 by Childs & Lehman, when Lehman was in partnership with Cephas G. Childs, one of the foremost engravers in Philadelphia.

Last updated: January 8, 2018