Boston: John Putnam, 1847. 48pp. Original printed wrappers. Wrappers a bit soiled and dusty, front joint partially split, spine a bit chipped. Foxed and toned. Good plus. Item #WRCAM53825
An extensive promotional description of John Banvard's famous three- mile panorama of the Mississippi River, the most successful exhibition of its kind. Large-scale visual exhibitions built around a single theme had been gaining in popularity since Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre's development of the diorama in Paris in 1822, but when Banvard's landscape behemoth arrived in Boston in 1846, a new age in public entertainment based on a shared visual event arrived with it. Banvard chose a topic with wide public appeal, and his scrolling profile of the romantic Mississippi River captured the attention and opened the purse strings of numerous patrons in Boston, New York, London, Paris, and beyond. Banvard's success was not grounded in any real artistic talent, but rather in the charming tales and anecdotes he told on stage that brought his collection of river scenes to life. The present text, in addition to the expected testimonials, includes scene-by-scene descriptions of the panorama itself. These descriptions offer textual evidence of Banvard's narrative performance and contain the real source of the panorama's power. These charming vignettes of provincial life along the mighty Mississippi set his visual extravaganza in context and, ultimately, made Banvard a wealthy man. HOWES B110, "aa." EBERSTADT 133:652. SABIN 3223. DAB I, p.582. GROCE & WALLACE, p.27.