American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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The Cotton Exchange

New York Cotton Exchange Building,
Hughson Hawley (1850-1936)
New York Cotton Exchange Building,
New York City

Perspective rendering, ca. 1883
Watercolor on illustration board
Prints & Photographs Division

Purchase, 1999 (141.7)

The New York Cotton Exchange, designed by architect George Post and completed in 1885, was one of illustrator Hughson Hawley's first commissioned renderings. The building appears to be constructed of real stone and brick and the addition of clouds in the sky, adjacent buildings, signage, and even elements of street life serve to provide the viewer with a naturalistic and convincing representation of something that does not yet exist. Hawley set the standard for future illustrators to follow, working for such renowned architects as George Post, Cass Gilbert, Francis Kimball, and the firm of McKim, Mead, and White. The Library's architectural collections document the development of the perspective rendering in hundreds of examples from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries.

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