The Oriental Album

Right: A Turkish Cavass (Police Officer)

Henry John Van-Lennep (1815-1889), The Oriental Album: Twenty Illustrations, in Oil Colors, of the People and Scenery of Turkey (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph, 1862). Purchased jointly with funds from the Program in Hellenic Studies and the Rare Books Division. Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Oversize Z232.E56 .V36 1862f

Henry Van Lemmep traveled to Turkey as a missionary in 1840 and did not return to the United States for twenty years. After his retirement, he gathered all his drawings and had them printed by the lithographer Charles R. Parsons (1821-1910) and published by Anson D. F. Randolph (1820-1896) as The Oriental Album. “In terms of American color plate books, this is one of the only large projects from the 1860s, when the Civil War seems to have curtailed production of such lavish enterprises.”—William Reese

Parsons began as an apprentise to the artist George Endicott (1802-1848) at the age of twelve, learning first to draw and then to make lithographs. He became a partner at Endicott & Company, producing work for Currier & Ives, as well as Frank Leslie. At the age of forty-two, Parsons took over the art department at Harper’s on Franklin Square, where he hired the best young artists of that time. Later, Joseph Pennell wrote “the growth of real and vital American art started in the department of Mr. Parsons in Franklin Square.”

Gypsy Telling Fortune Albanian Guard

Turkish and Armenian Ladies