The Old Print Shop

William H. Bartlett


William Henry Bartlett was a British artist, best known for his prolific life rendering steel engravings of many parts of the world. He was also considered one of the foremost illustrators of topography for his generation.

Bartlett traveled extensively. He is noted for visiting the United States four times between 1835-1852. His initial visit was focused in the northeast, where he produced beautiful drawings that would be made into steel engravings for the book "American Scenery", published between 1837-1839. The U.S. wasn't the only country he visited on the other side of the Atlantic, however. "Canadian Scenery" was published in 1842. These two publications are considered his most famous.

In between the two North American publications, Bartlett produced "Walks about the city and environs of Jerusalem" which is focused on parts of the Middle East. In total, Bartlett made five trips to the Holy Land and Near East between 1834-1854.

Although less noted, Bartlett also produced many steel engravings of European countries that were used in a variety of publications. Although beautifully crafted, Europe was already heavily depicted in artwork by the time Bartlett was working. The Americas on the other hand were still seen with a sense of romanticization, which is likely why the North American volumes are viewed as some of his most notable works.

Bartlett died of fever in 1854 off the coast of Malta while traveling home from the Middle East. Even in death, his work continued to charm the world. “History of the United States of North America” was published in 1856 using many of his drawings as a basis.