[John Banvard, first to paint a moving panorama of the Mississippi (it opened at Louisville in 1846), was no slouch as his own press agent. Several early publicity stories about the origin of "by far the largest picture ever executed by man" he blended in 1849 into the account of the "Adventures of the Artist" with which he thereafter opened the program pamphlet describing his "Three-Mile Painting." For the history of his production see John Francis McDermott, The Lost Panoramas of the Mississippi (Chicago, 1958). For the variations in the descriptive pamphlets see McDermott, "Banvard's Mississippi Panorama Pamphlets," Bibliographical Society of America Papers, XLIII, 48-62 (First Quarter, 1949).]
[NOTE. As many inquiries respecting the past history of the artist have been made by those who have viewed his painting, at the suggestion of a number of his friends the following sketch of his adventures is compiled from Howitt's Journal, London; Chambers' Edinburgh Journal; and Morris & Willis' Home Journal, New York.]
The day was bright, and the setting sun was casting its mellow light over the ever beautiful autumnal foliage of an American landscape, bordering on the noble Mississippi. A tiny skiff was floating upon the mirror'd surface of the stream, unguided by its solitary occupant, a boy, of scarce sixteen, who sat, with folded arms, contemplating with wonder and delight, the glowing scenes around him. That boy was JOHN BANVARD. He had heard, and now realized, that America could boast the most picturesque and magnificent scenery in the world; and as he glided along by the beautiful shores, the boy resolved within himself to be an Artist, that he might paint the beauties and sublimities of his native land.
Some years passed away, and still this fatherless, moneyless youth, dreamed of being a painter. What he was in his waking, working moments, we do not know; but, at all events, he found