Campaign Sketches
Winslow Homer, [1863.]
[HOMER, Winslow (1836-1910).] Campaign Sketches. Boston: L. Prang & Co., [1863].

Winslow Homer’s large Civil War lithographs, called the first American artist’s book. Winslow Homer moved to New York from Boston in 1859, and a few years later he made a name for himself as the premier illustrator of the Civil War, for Harper’s Weekly. He joined General McClellan’s Army of the Potomac and spent five weeks with them on the campaign to reach Richmond.

The publisher of this series, Louis Prang (1824-1909), was not yet the renowned chromolithographer he would become, but an up-and-comer like Winslow Homer himself. Homer was unhappy with the winnowing down of his illustrations necessary for newsprint publication in Harper’s and was probably delighted to collaborate with Prang and have more artistic control. These six lithographs were intended as a first series, but they were not strong sellers, and no continuation was published. Rather, Homer and Prang collaborated on a less ambitious project, a series of small-format caricatures called “Life in Camp.” The subject matter in Campaign Sketches also avoids battle scenes. The titles are “The Letter for Home,” “Foraging,” “The Coffee Call,” “Our Jolly Cook,” “A Pass Time,” and “The Baggage Train.” Two of the scenes prominently depict Black men: an offensive caricature of a camp cook, and a more sympathetic image of two men riding on the back of a covered wagon. Rare. This is only the second complete set of six that we locate in the auction records (that set also lacking the original wrappers).

Comprising six duotone lithographs, 360 x 275mm sheet size (reinforced with card, repairing some closed edge tears, “Pass Time with closed tear through caption). Lacking wrappers. Individually matted; housed in a quarter morocco solander case.

Brought to you by

Christina Geiger
Christina Geiger Head of Department

More from The Private Collection of William S. Reese: Part Two

View All
View All