By Mary Wadland
In 1853, there was an announcement in the Alexandria Gazette letting readers know they would have a special opportunity to purchase a view of their city. The article stated that Mr. Palmatary, a professor of drawing, was on his way to the Alexandria “with the intention of getting up a view on it.” The resulting aerial-view lithograph features Lee’s Boyhood Home, the Lee-Fendall House, Christ Church, St. Mary’s Church, City Hall and The Lyceum.
Though not documented, it is likely the artistic professor drew the city while in the basket of a tethered balloon. An extraordinary feat, the prints were sold for $5.00 each, back when five dollars was a lot of money.
Fast forward 164 years, and Todd Healy, 68, has taken one of those original lithographs and spent hundreds of hours painstakingly hand-coloring it, bringing those days to life again. “You can’t believe the colors and the vibrancy of Alexandria that Todd has captured,“ said one customer picking up a beautifully framed version.
Professor Palmatary would surely be proud to know his original work is now reproduced as a museum-quality Giclée print that uses fade-resistant, archival inks, preserving the image for generations to come.
The prints are available now at Todd Healy’s shop, Gallery Lafayette, 130 South Royal Street. You can also reach Todd at his website. www.capitalartifacts.com or 703-548-5266.