One of the Earliest Obtainable Printed Views of New York City
Scarce early view of New York City, first published in 1761, originally drawn by famed colonial birdseye view artist William Burgis.
The Burgis view is generally regarded as the earliest reasonably obtainable view of the city, showing the city as it appeared in the second decade of the 18th Century.
Beginning in 1716, William Burgis stood at the Brooklyn Heights shore and drew the waterfront along the east side of Manhattan, calling it “A South Prospect of the Flourishing City of New York in ye Province of New York in America.” The drawing was sent to London, where John Harris engraved the image on four copper plates, which when printed and joined created a six foot wide panoramic view of the City, which was first advertised for sale in America in 1721 in The American Weekly Mercury as “A Curious Prospect of the City of New-York…”
The view was copied several times over the years, including the so-called 1746 “Bakewell reissue” and in 1761, a new impression engraved for the London Magazine.
States of the View
This is one of two editions of the 1761 edition of the view, which were printed with separate copper plates, with slightly different titles
- "New York in North America."
- "New York in America"
While the two look nearly identical, there are many subtle differences, the most notable is that several of the sailing ships in the "New York in America" edition do not have people aboard, whereas all the sailing ships on the "New York in North America" edition include people aboard the ships.
At the far right, the stockade shown would become Wall Street.