Catherwood’s Panorama – ‘City Full of History’ Episode 8

Last time on “City Full of History”, we traveled to Inwood Hill Park to visit the Native American caves.  Come along this week as we pay a visit to Frederick Catherwood’s Panorama, one of the most popular entertainment spots in early New York City!

By the time Frederick Catherwood arrived in New York City in 1836 he was already well-traveled beyond his 37 years of age.  Born in London in 1799 he served as an architect’s apprentice for 6 years, took art classes at the Royal Academy, and spent 13 years studying and drawing ancient ruins around the Mediterranean.  Returning to London he worked for Robert Buford at his panorama in Leicester Square, where he learned the business of popular entertainment.  Buford painted several panoramas based on Catherwood’s drawings, while Catherwood gave lectures on his travels to an interested public.

Robert Barker's Rotunda-Frederick Catherwood-Broadway-Manhattan-New York City-Bookworm History-Daniel Thurber
Robert Barker’s Panorama in Leicester Square, London (Image in the public domain – courtesy of the British Library)

After arriving in New York he worked briefly as an architect before traveling to Central America with his good friend John Lloyd Stephens.  Stephens’ books, “Incidents of Travel in Central America” and “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan” were profusely illustrated by Catherwood, who put his art and architecture backgrounds to work creating incredibly detailed and accurate drawings and surveys of the ruins they saw.

Plan of Copan-Frederick Catherwood-Broadway-Prince and Mercer Street-Manhattan-New York City-Bookworm History-Daniel Thurber
‘Plan of Copan’ by Frederick Catherwood. From “Incidents of Travel in Central America” by John Lloyd Stephens

While in New York, in between trips with Stephens, Catherwood plunged back into the entertainment business, opening his own panorama at the corner of Prince and Mercer Streets.  Come along with us to pull back the veil over this little-known, fascinating figure in New York history as we pay a visit to Mr. Catherwood’s Panorama!

Stone Idol-Frederick Catherwood-Broadway-Prince and Mercer Street-Manhattan-New York City-Bookworm History-Daniel Thurber
‘Stone Idol – Front View’ by Frederick Catherwood. From “Incidents of Travel in Central America” by John Lloyd Stephens

 

One thought on “Catherwood’s Panorama – ‘City Full of History’ Episode 8

  1. Pingback: Youle’s Shot Tower – ‘City Full of History’ Episode 9 – Bookworm History

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