1883 "Liberty Enlightening the World" Statue of Liberty Lithograph by Root & Tinkler

This 1883 color lithograph, entitled "Liberty Enlightening the World," depicts the Statue of Liberty rising from New York Harbor. The print was produced two years before the Statue of Liberty had even arrived in New York City.  The print was designed to be distributed to the American press ahead of the statue's arrival, though it may not have attained widespread production, as few examples survive today. The printing of this lithograph was sponsored by the Travelers Insurance Agency, located in Hartford, Connecticut, with advertising for the company below the image. This print was published by Root & Tinker and lithographed by Buek & Linder, both New York based companies.

Officially named “Liberty Enlightening the World” by the artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the statue symbolized the everlasting friendship between the United States and France that began during the American Revolution. Funding for the statue was a joint effort between the U.S. and France. France was responsible for the production of the figure of Liberty and transporting it to New York, while America funded the construction of a grand pedestal.

The statue is a figure of Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. Bartholdi based the face of Liberty on his own mother and placed a torch aloft in her right hand and tablet in her left hand. The tablet reads, “July 4, 1776” to represent the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress. 

Originally the statue and pedestal were meant to be completed by 1876, in time for the Centennial of the birth of the U.S., however financial limitations set both France and America back a decade. In 1885, the statue was dismantled in Paris and crated aboard the French Military Frigate the Isere for arrival in the United States. Construction of the statue's pedestal and assembly was completed in 1886. Eventually, on October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland held an inauguration and dedication parade for “Liberty Enlightening the World” on what was then called Bedloe’s Island.

As time passed, Lady Liberty came to represent so much more than a symbol of friendship between two nations; the statue promised freedom, democracy, and opportunity to all immigrants coming through Ellis Island. Today, the Statue of Liberty remains one of the most iconic monuments in the world.


Original lithograph. Good condition overall, considering age and past use. Color is lightly faded, but still very attractive. Paper has full title and paper margins. Several tears along the margins, into image, since stabilized. Print is mounted on acid-free board. 

Title at bottom reads: "Liberty Enlightening the World. Edition Prepared Expressively for The American Press, and Presented with Compliments of  The Travelers Insurance Co., Hartford, Conn." The bottom margin features facsimile printed signatures of the Chairman of the American Committee of the Statue of Liberty, Chairman of the Executive Committee, President of the Committee, Sculptor, and Architect of the Pedestal. The copyright line reads "Copyright 1883 and Published by Root & Tinker, Tribune Building, New York, Litho by Buek & Linder, N.Y." in the bottom right margin. An advertisement for the Travelers Insurance Co. runs along the lower left margin. 

Lithograph is sold unframed, as-is. Unframed Dimensions: 33" H x 22" W. 

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