— Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2013 —
Travelling Panoramic Bird's-Eye Views of Mexico City by William Bullock's Son
60. BULLOCK, William, Jr. (artist). Description of the Panorama of the Superb City of Mexico, and the Surrounding Scenery, Painted on 2700 Square Feet of Canvas, by Robert T. Burford, Esq. from Drawings Made on the Spot, at the Request of the Mexican Government, By Mr. W. Bullock, Jr. Now Open for Public Inspection Opposite the Atheneum, Pearl Street, Boston. Boston: Printed by J. H. Eastburn, No. 60, Congress-St., Price, 12 1-2 Cents, 1828. [1-3] 4-16 pp., folded lithograph plate: Explanation of a View of the City of Mexico, exhibiting in the Panorama, Leicester Square [divided into two images: upper image: 13 x 40 cm (including key); lower image: 13.5 x 40 cm (including key); overall sheet size: 31.5 x 46 cm. 8vo (21.2 x 13 cm), original plain grey paper wrappers, original stitching (broken). Wrappers chipped with minor losses, small stains, wrinkled, title page dusty and with a small stain, plate somewhat foxed and wrinkled at left edge. Overall, a very good copy of a very fragile item.
This ephemeral publication was reprinted at every venue, and it is well nigh impossible to sort out the pollo from the huevo. Sabin 9219. Not in American Imprints. The text here is the same, with minor corrections, that was first published as Description of a View of the City of Mexico...now Exhibiting in the Panorama, Leicester-Square (London, 1826). The panorama takes its title from that first exhibit. In 1959 Manuel Romero de Terreros published an annotated facsimile of one of the editions of the pamphlet. The plate, which appears to be the same as that used in the London pamphlet, shows two bird’s-eye views of Mexico City from different perspectives. Both images have an accompanying key with 71 identified locations. In his text, the writer gives a brief history of Mexico and Mexico City, followed by comments on some of the places and sites shown in the panorama. One of the cites located is the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Despite the writer's obvious sympathies for Mexico, certain prejudices show through, as in his remark that the Cathedral has only some good paintings and that the homeless Indians, of whom there are about 30,000, spend most of their time at menial tasks and getting drunk, “thus passing their time pretty equally between work, drunkennes [sic], and imprisonment” (p. 7).
The present work is that of William Bullock, Jr., son of William Bullock, Sr. (see preceding entries). Bullock, Jr. made the drawings from which Robert Burford created the panorama, exhibited in Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, Washington D.C., New York (see next entry), London, Mexico City, and possibly other places. Artist Robert Burford (1791-1861), who worked with Bullock, Jr., was also known for his panoramas of Lima, Niagara Falls, and Madrid. As late as 1853, Burford was still exhibiting the panorama at Leicester Square in London.
Details are somewhat sketchy regarding the life and work of William Bullock, Jr. (fl. 1820s), son of William Bullock, Sr. (ca. 1773-1849), and the entry for William Bullock in DNB only confuses the matter. M.P. Costeloe ably sorts it out in "William Bullock and the Mexican Connection" in Mexican Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2, Summer 2006, pp. 298-300:
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