A lovely and rare view of Pittsfield, Mass. looking south from the grounds of the Maplewood Young Ladies’ Institute. The general impression is of a prosperous, largely pre-industrial town in a lovely natural setting, with many fine churches and other large structures. Pittsfield became a manufacturing power house with the arrival of General Electric in the 20th century, but these changes are merely intimated by two tiny trains moving across the view in the middle distance.
We have found little about James Clapp, other than that Reps credits him as the artist of three other views in addition to the present item (North Adams, Mass. and two views of Key West).
Goupil & Co. was a printing and publishing firm based initially in Paris, but as of 1848 became the first foreign art firm to establish a permanent branch in New York. They soon began to court the American market by publishing prints of American subjects and/or by American artists such as August Kollner. Reps identifies the Goupil firm (and the related Goupil, Vibert & Co.) as publishers of 21 lithographic views, including several of New York but also views of Philadelphia, Kingston (Ontario), Montreal and Quebec City.
Stokes and Haskell date this view of Pittsfield to 1854-1860, as these are the only years the New York Directory locates the Goupil firm at 368 Broadway.
Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America, #1597, citing examples only at New York Public and Yale. Stokes and Haskell, American Historical Prints, G-33 (p. 117). Web site of the George Glazer Gallery (for background on Goupil & Co.)
Image excellent. A bit of marginal soiling and few small edge repairs, with faint edge toning from old mat.