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[Among the embellished periodicals]

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Among the embellished periodicals of the day, Payne's Pictoral World, a London publication, may be ranked with the finest.1 The plates are of the most exquisite style of steel engraving; and moreover, are marked by great taste in the selection of subjects, and in the designs and outlines. 'The Fisherman,' in no. 2, is one of the best done engravings of its size, we know . . . . . .2 A thousand pounds premium is to be given by the proprietors of the Pictorial World, to the best artist picturing 'the baptism of Christ, by immersion in the river Jordan,'—and this princely prize is now about due, the time (April 3d, 1847,) having arrived which was fixed two years since as the limit of the period for competition.3 And an engraving from this prize picture will be given to each subscriber for the World.—[Robert Shannon, 118 Nassau st., N. Y., agent.)


1. Payne's Universum, or Pictorial World: Being a Collection of Engravings of Views in all Countries, Portraits of Great Men, and Specimens of Works of Art, of all Ages and of Every Character was published in London in three volumes by E. T. Brain and Co., 88 Fleet Street. Charles Edwards (dates unknown) was the editor. Whitman here reviews the second volume in the series. Whitman had earlier praised Payne's Illustrated London. See "Literary Notices," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 26, 1846: 2. Albert Henry Payne (1812–1902) was a steel engraver, painter and illustrator. [back]

2. The Fisherman by Albert Henry Payne after a design by L. Hicks is typical of the narrative art Whitman favored. In it an old fisherman mends his net with a young child at his knee. The image accompanies a poem of the same title. [back]

3. The competition was announced in The Athenaeum: Journal of English and Foreign Literature, Society, and the Fine Arts, November 29, 1845 (London): 1137, and called for a mural-sized painting with the principal figures life-sized. The prospect of a competition fundamentally aligned with Whitman's democratic sensibilities. [back]

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