CATLIN, GEORGE. 1796-1872.
Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Praries of America. London: Geo. Catlin, 1844.
20 pp. 25 finely hand-colored lithographed plates, many heightened in gum arabic. Folio (575 x 410 mm). Period maroon half morocco over pebbled cloth, titled in gilt on the upper cover, by A. Tarrant. Custom black half morocco clamshell case. Tiny chip to one corner of title, a few plates with short marginal tears or repairs, not affecting image, joints, head and tail of spine and corners somewhat rubbed, cloth slightly faded.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, PUBLISHED BY CATLIN HIMSELF. Catlin quit his job as a lawyer to pursue a life in art. He eventually left Philadelphia for the West after seeing and being impressed by a delegation of Indians visiting the city. He had the help of William Clark, then Superintendent of Indian Affairs, who allowed Catlin to accompany diplomatic missions among the Indians of the West east of the Rockies. He spent eight years collecting sketches and oils that would become George Catlin's Indian Gallery and the basis for his books.
The present volume is in the first issue, before the publishing was taken over by Henry Bohn. This issue is generally considered the most accurately colored as Catlin himself oversaw the work. "These beautiful views of scenes in Indian life are probably the most truthful ever presented to the public" (Field). Field 258; Howes C243; Reese The Production of Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, 1844-1876 issue 1; Sabin 11532; Wagner-Camp 105a:1.
Provenance: gift inscription from W.H. Chetwynd to Berkeley Paget dated 1883, on front pastedown.
Acquisition: Laird Park sale, Sotheby's New York, Nov 29, 2000, lot 49, $148,750.