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Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Hartford, Conn.

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The Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Hartford


 This view of the American Asylum received several treatments by different artists in the 1820s and 30s. John W. Barber illustrates a simplified version of the asylum for his Connecticut Historical Collections of 1825. The closest print source for this view is that done by Asaph Willard, who worked in Hartford from 1816 to 1828, entitled "View of the American Asylum for Deaf and Dumb Persons, Hartford, Con." This version, taken from the American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, vol. 1, issue 6 published by the Boston Bewick Company, copies Willard's version almost exactly and dates to the 1830s.  Willard and the American Magazine versions both show a fanlight in the pediment which Barber's version does not. The Connecticut Historical Society owns a substantial group of Barber's original sketches for his Historical Collections. There is no version of the asylum among them, which may indicate that he drew on another source for his version rather than drawing it "from life."

The Boston Bewick Company was a group of several Boston engravers, including Abel Bowen, who formed their company to publish the American Magazine and promote wood engraving. They named the company after the 19th century English wood engraving innovator, Thomas Bewick.

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Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Hartford, Con. - Ridgway
John & William Ridgway