William Henry Bartlett

(1809—1854) topographical artist

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(1809–54). Originator of the eponymous phrase ‘Bartlett print’. Born in London, England, he was apprenticed from 13 to 20 to architect John Britton, from whom he learned to sketch architectural antiquities and landscape views for the purpose of engraving. His technical skills and draughtsmanship soon led to work with the London publisher George Virtue, and in 1832 he began collaborating with Dr William Beattie, for whom he illustrated several travel books. To support his family, Bartlett became both a writer and illustrator of travel books. His sketches in sepia pen and ink and washes, when translated into engravings, became widely popular as picturesque views. He visited North America in 1836–7, 1838, and 1841 to provide sketches for two publications by Nathaniel Parker Willis, American Scenery (London, 1840) and Canadian Scenery Illustrated(London, 1842). The 120 engravings in the latter have become ubiquitous representations, idyllic and romantic views of a still primitive society in transformation. Bartlett continued to travel widely throughout Great Britain, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as the United States. He died suddenly at sea off Malta, leaving behind a sustained legacy as a topographical artist and author.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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