Verses by Jami

This calligraphic fragment includes verses composed by the famous Persian poet Jami (died 1492). In the top-right corner, the text begins with the attribution of the verses to the makhdumi (master) poet and a request for (God’s) al-maghfarah (forgiveness) and al-rahmah (mercy) upon Jami. The verses then describe how often true beauty is overlooked: “How often there is a beautiful face with graceful ways / Who is not sought after by people / But how often a harlot with sweet winks / Causes the blood of hearts to pour out in gushes.” In the lower-right corner, al-mudhnib (the lowly) calligrapher Hajji Yadigar al-Katib has signed his work. As his name suggests, he must have completed the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and been a katib (professional scribe). He may be a certain Yadigar Khwajah Samarqandi, who arrived in India and offered the Mughal ruler Jahangir (ruled 1605‒27) a muraqqaʻ (album) of calligraphies, for which he received a robe of honor. The verses are executed in black nastaʻliq script on a beige paper. Framed by cloud bands, the text appears on a background lavishly decorated with gold painted vegetal designs highlighted in light-blue and red dots. These motifs appear to support a 17th-century Central Asian or Mughal provenance.

The Div Akvan throws Rustam into the Sea from Firdawsi's "Shahnamah"

This painting represents an episode described in the Shahnamah (The book of kings), the epic story of ancient kings and heroes of Persia composed by the renowned poet Firdawsi during the first decades of the 11th century. The text on the fragment’s recto and verso describes the painting. King Khusraw summons Rustam to help him stop a div (demon) disguised as a wild ass that is ravaging the royal herds. After three days of unsuccessful battle, the hero falls asleep in the grass. Thereupon, the Div Akvan casts aside his disguise, resumes his demonic form, rushes towards Rustam, and digs up the ground around the hero. He gives Rustam the choice of being thrown against the mountains, to be eaten by lions and onagers, or cast into the sea, where he would drown. Knowing that the demon’s action would be the exact opposite to his request and realizing that, if cast into the sea, he would have a chance to swim to safety, he asks to be thrown against the mountains. Rustam is then cast into the sea, swims back to the shore, and returns to defeat the demon in combat. The painting shows the precise moment when the Div Akvan pauses before deciding to hurl Rustam into the waters. The demon stands tall, his outstretched arms supporting a still-sleeping Rustam, as his gold bell bangles clang loudly. A posteriori labels added to the right of Rustam’s head and at the demon’s waist identify Rustam and Div Akvan. On the right side of the composition, rocky mountains and two threatening tigers are depicted, while, at the bottom of the painting, a variety of fish swim in the sea. Immediately above the painting, the chapter heading executed in gold ink identifies the scene and its corresponding text. The painting's style and composition are typical of illustrated manuscripts of the Shahnamah produced during the Safavid period in Iran. The shapes of the rocky outcrop, loosely painted in light-blue, pink, and yellow washes, seem to hint at facial features. The layout of the text and the script (nastaʻliq) as visible on the painting's verso also are characteristic of 16th-century Persian manuscripts. The lower-right corner of the painting has suffered damage and thus a small portion of the painting is lost to us today.

The Offering of the Carriers of the Press to Their Patrons

This lithograph from 1862 contains a montage of seven titled vignette views of historic sites in Philadelphia. Independence Hall, the building used by the Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1776, is predominately featured. The vignettes include front and rear views of Independence Hall, showing the Chestnut Street elevation and the rear elevation with Independence Square. The largest vignette, located in the middle of the image, is titled, “Signing of the Declaration of Independence,” and is based on a painting by John Trumbull (1756–1843). “Hall of Independence – Interior” shows the interior Assembly Room utilized as an exhibit gallery. The final vignettes are exterior and interior views of Carpenters’ Hall, and a view of the house in which the Declaration of Independence was written, located at the southwest corner of Market and Seventh Streets. The house, which was owned at the time by bricklayer Jacob Graff Jr., was later used as a storefront. In this view, it is adorned with signage reading, “W. Brown & Co.,” “Book & Job Printing Office,” and “Birth Place of Liberty.” Most of the vignette views include pedestrian or visitor traffic. The group of vignettes is surrounded by a border of vinery containing an American eagle and a shield. The montage was printed by Bowen & Company, which was active until circa 1870.

Eagle Hotel. Number 139 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia

This lithograph from circa 1855 is an advertisement showing the multi-storied hotel at 139 (i.e., 227–229) North Third Street in Philadelphia. The hotel is identified as the Eagle Hotel, and the proprietors as Allmond & Stem. An awning over the second floor balcony prominently displays these names. On the second floor balcony, guests sit, stand, and converse. On the street below, a woman approaches the “Private Entrance” and figures stand under the balcony. Dogs walk near an omnibus parked in front of the hotel. Two adjacent businesses, that of merchants Worman & Ely, and that of Eckel & Robinson, providing “Brooms, Cedar & Willow Ware,” can also be seen. Merchandise (including a hobby horse, brooms, pram, basin, and baskets) lines the sidewalk and is visible in the windows and doorways at 137 North Third Street, the Eckel & Robinson business. Two men converse near an entrance to the store. The address of the hotel became 227 North Third Street in 1857, following the consolidation of the city. This print was produced by Thomas S. Sinclair (circa 1805–81). Sinclair was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was active in Philadelphia by 1833, where he soon had his own business and was one of the first local printmakers to experiment with color lithography. A practical lithographer throughout his career, Sinclair produced all genres of lithographs, including maps, advertisements, city and landscape views, sheet music covers, portraiture, political cartoons, certificates, and book illustrations.

Louis L. Peck, Manufacturer and Dealer in Varnishes, Pine Oil, Virgin and Spirits of Turpentine

This lithograph from circa 1855 is an advertisement showing the busy street corner at Front and Walnut Streets near the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The view includes a building containing an oil manufactory, and a flour and farina store. Visible in the background are the tall masts of sailing ships, the busy wharf for the Walnut Street Ferry, and Smith and Windmill Islands in the Delaware River. Pedestrians walk the sidewalks and cross the intersection at Front and Walnut Streets. Delivery wagons and drays traverse the business-lined streets. One horse-drawn delivery wagon is driven by an African American man. This delivery wagon is used for the oil business of Louis L. Peck, and has advertising text on the side. In the right foreground of the image, a boy rolls a hoop, passing near a female peddler sewing at her food stand. The scene is depicted within a lithographed tromp l'oeil wood frame containing a small inset image that shows an exterior view of Peck’s Works (located on Dock Street). The varnish business owned by Louis L. Peck operated from circa 1848 until 1855. The printer of this lithograph was Wagner & McGuigan, a firm specializing in the production of advertising prints.

Panorama of Philadelphia. Chestnut Street, East of Fifth

This lithograph from circa 1856 shows a panoramic view of businesses marked with pre-consolidation addresses located on the south side of the 400 block of Chestnut Street (134–140, i.e., 420–428) in Philadelphia. Signage and ornaments adorn the buildings. The view includes L.J. Levy & Company, dry goods store (420); Bailey & Kitchen, jeweler, and Broadbent & Company, daguerreotype rooms (422); W.F. Warburton, late W.H. Beebe & Company, hatter, and C. Stinger, dressmaker (424); James E. Caldwell & Company, jeweler (426); and M.A. Root, gallery of daguerreotypes, Wriggens & Warden, jeweler, and S. Marot, engraver (428). The scene also shows heavy street and pedestrian traffic, including horse-drawn carriages and an omnibus. Part of the old City Hall, located at Fifth and Chestnut Streets, is also visible. A crowd of people stands at the tree-lined street corner near the building. The lithograph was produced by the firm Schnabel, Finkeldey & Demme, a partnership between three German-born Philadelphia lithographers: William Demme, John F. Finkeldey, and Edward Schnabel. The firm was active under this name circa 1856–57, and produced a series of prints detailing commercial buildings on Chestnut Street, as well as sheet music covers.

Point Breeze Park, Schottisch

This lithograph from circa 1858 is tinted with two stones and is the cover illustration to the sheet music “Point Breeze Park,” composed by George J. Corrie. The view shows spectators at a trotting race at the park on the Penrose Ferry Bridge Road near Point Breeze in Philadelphia. Several men, wearing top hats, stand in the raised stand for judges while male and female club members crowd the piazzas of the two-story main clubhouse. Racing on the course are two horses pulling sulkies. A few spectators stand on the grounds and landscaped paths. A second, smaller clubhouse building is adjacent to the main clubhouse. The park, established in 1855 by the Point Breeze Park Association of sportsmen, promoted trotting races as agricultural exhibitions to circumvent an 1817 city ban on horse racing. The park was sold to a private owner in 1901 and, in 1912, was sold again for development as an amusement park. The artist of this image was James Fuller Queen (circa 1820–86), a Philadelphia lithographer and pioneer chromolithographer known for his attention to detail and composition. The printer, Thomas S. Sinclair (circa 1805–81), was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was active in Philadelphia by 1833, where he soon had his own business and was one of the first local printmakers to experiment with color lithography. A practical lithographer throughout his career, Sinclair produced all genres of lithographs, including maps, advertisements, city and landscape views, sheet music covers, portraiture, political cartoons, certificates, and book illustrations.

Pupil's Polka

This lithograph from circa 1857 is a sheet music cover for the “Pupil’s Polka,” composed by A. Tatzel and dedicated to the pupils at Hlasko’s Dancing Academy in Philadelphia. The view shows the interior of a room where children attend dance class at the institute operated by Miecislaw Hlasko. A mother introduces her son to the instructor as pairs of children perform different dance steps. Parents watch the children from the dance floor and other chaperones and children sit on a long cushioned bench located on one side of the hall. Two musicians play from a raised platform adorned with a balustrade in the background. Chandeliers and a skylight are seen above the dance floor. Beneath the image, prices are printed: “Colored 4 1/2” and “Plain 3.” The lithograph was produced by the firm Schnabel, Finkeldey & Demme, a partnership between three German-born Philadelphia lithographers: William Demme, John F. Finkeldey, and Edward Schnabel. The firm was active under this name circa 1856–57, and produced a series of prints detailing commercial buildings on Chestnut Street, as well as sheet music covers.

Terrible Conflagration and Destruction of the Steamboat "New Jersey"

This hand-colored lithograph from 1856 shows a dramatic view of the steamboat New Jersey, engulfed in flames and smoke on the Delaware River. Panicked passengers huddle, jump, and dive into the icy river, where the water is already teeming with disaster victims. The men and women in the river bob and swim. Passengers lie on, attempt to stay upon, and assist others onto floes of ice and bits of debris. In the lower right of the image, a rowboat containing a rower and a man holding a baby (as well as a victim hanging on to the rear of the vessel) arrives at the nearby wharf. The rescuer hands the limp baby to a woman, as a man stands nearby with a look of concern. In the left background, signage for “Baths” can be seen on the riverbank. The New Jersey, captained by Ebenezer Corson, was mid-voyage to Camden from Philadelphia (using an alternate elongated route due to heavy ice), when it caught fire on the night of March 15, 1856. The fire started as a result of defective boilers, a fireplace, and brick work. With the fire spreading rapidly, Corson retreated to Arch Street Wharf in Philadelphia, and came within 30 feet of the pier when the pilot house collapsed, leaving the boat unmanned and out of control. Corson survived by leaping ashore before the uncontrolled ship drifted back out on the river. This print was published by John L. Magee (born circa 1820) and Alfred Pharazyn (circa 1833–circa 1878). Magee was an artist, engraver, and lithographer who specialized in cartoons and event prints. Active in Philadelphia by 1855, he produced portraits, church views, political cartoons, and event prints, including Civil War imagery. Pharazyn operated a print coloring establishment in Philadelphia between the 1850s and the 1870s.

Charles C. Oat's Lamp Store. Number 32 North Second Street, Philadelphia

This lithograph from circa 1848 is an advertisement showing a four-story storefront located at number 32 North Second Street, north of Market Street in Philadelphia. The building is adorned with signage reading, “Lamps,” “Charles C. Oat’s Lamp Store,” and “C.C. Oat.” A female patron stands at the open entry and peers into the display window, which is filled with lavishly-designed lamps, chandeliers, and light fixtures. Inside the store, a clerk assists a female patron reviewing a display table of lamps. On the sidewalk, a couple strolls past a pile of boxes near the store, a boy with no shoes carries a bundle, and a boy peddler walks with his basket of wares. Partial views of neighboring businesses are also seen, with partial signage reading, “...Maull...Bonnets” and “34 W.H.E...Shoe....” The neighboring shops are a hat store, probably one owned by Robert F. Maull, and a shoe store. The hat store has a display of hats strung from ropes hanging from the roof and sidewalk awning. Oat tenanted this address from 1848–50. The artist, William H. Rease, was born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, and was the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. Rease became active in his trade around 1844. Through the 1850s he mainly worked with printers Frederick Kuhl and Wagner & McGuigan in the production of advertising prints known for their portrayals of human details. Although Rease often collaborated with other lithographers, by 1850 he promoted in O'Brien's Business Directory his own establishment, located at 17 South Fifth Street, north of Chestnut Street. In 1855 he relocated his establishment to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets (after a circa 1853−55 partnership with Francis Schell), where in addition to advertising prints he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.