New York: The Harry T Thomas Company, 1896. One of 540 copies of the scarce Autograph Edition signed by the author/artist. Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915) was an American author, artist and engineer born in Baltimore, Maryland, a descendant of Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He became a contractor in New York City and did much work for the Federal government, including the stone ice-breaker at Bridgeport, Connecticut, the jetties at the mouth of the Connecticut river, the foundation for the Bartholdi Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, and the Race Rock Lighthouse off New London, Connecticut. His vacations were spent sketching in the White Mountains, in Cuba, in Mexico, and afterwards in Venice, Constantinople and Holland. He published various volumes of travel illustrated by himself, including this work on Venice [Wikipedia]. This beautiful large folio is extensively illustrated both in color and black & white. There are 20 full page color plates and 21 in b&w, all protected by tissue guards. In addition there are numerous color and b&w text illustrations throughout the book. In his preface Smith wrote that his aim was to describe and depict the beauties of Venice that one sees in the sunlight of a summer's day. Bound in contemporary brown three quarter leather with marbled paper boards and endpapers. Leather is scraped and scuffed, with tear along top of spine. Paper boards are also scraped and worn. The interior pages are quite clean and bright. There is a margin stain on the free front endpaper but the rest of the book is very good plus. A very desirable copy of this homage to the magical city of Venice. 140 pages plus plates. This is very heavy book that will require extra postage. ART/012319.
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