23 ~ NW Corner Dock & Pear Streets 39 ~ NW Corner Spruce & Dock Streets

Among the collections at the Winterthur Library is a folio identified as the Taylor sketchbook. Dated 1861, the Taylor watercolors offer a rare glimpse into the architecture of old Philadelphia.

Though the artist is identified only by surname, speculation is that the sketches are the work of James E Taylor. In all, Taylor created 57 pencil and wash sketches of various buildings in and around Philadelphia during the summer of 1861. Whether these were created from actual observation or were copied from other, perhaps earlier sources is unclear. Some evidence for the argument that Taylor's work was drawn after early photographs may be provided by sketch #39, though no hard conclusions can yet be drawn.

Sketches #23 and #39, discussed here (and indicated on the map above), were the focus of research in the Fall of 2005 as part of a course in Historic Preservation (HSPV 600) at the University of Pennsylvania. Information presented here provides some context surrounding the 2 buildings. The story of the buildings and their neighborhood is evoked through a review of their social context, maps of the sites, photographs of the buildings and their surroundings through time.

Research was conducted by David O'Malley and Cathy Rossetti. Links to Resources are provided.


Sketch #23 - Dock & Pear Sketch #39 - Spruce & Dock Sketch #23 - Dock & Pear