Boston Beheld

Antique Town and Country Views

D. Brenton Simons

A unique collection of more than sixty original works of art from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Boston Beheld depicts scenes from a bygone era not immediately recognizable to the modern eye. In this stunning and informative volume of full-color period images by professional and amateur artists alike, you will discover sweeping vistas, lively street scenes, and elegant edifices that reveal Boston as a youthful and vibrant town. Selected from both public and private collections by D. Brenton Simons and ranging from fine art to folk art, these works capture the multifaceted character of a sometimes quaint place that has given way to a modern metropolis with the attendant urban sprawl. Boston Beheld offers a portfolio of rarely seen views of the town John Winthrop famously called a “city upon a hill.” Bostonians are seen engaged in everyday commerce, strolling along tree-lined streets, parading on the Common, navigating the harbor, and fomenting historic events. Each image is accompanied by descriptive text highlighting famous landmarks, points of interest, and quotes from famous residents and travelers. From the North End to the South Bay, Boston Beheld offers an ever fascinating and occasionally poignant portrait of a beloved city known now only through these images and the historical record.

Cloth: $35
ISBN-13: 9781584657408
Pages: 164 | Size: 11 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: October 31, 2008

“Brenton Simons gives both social and historical context to some of the finest views of Boston ever created.”

Malcolm Rogers, Director, MFA Boston


  • A wonderful coffee table book? Yes it is. Sixty-five full color plates of Boston scenes from the early eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth, by professional and amateur artists; on canvas, panel and paper; fine art, folk art, wallpaper, needlework, over mantels and even the side of a fire engine - what more could you ask? Well, you could ask for social history. And you'll get it.

    Antiques Journal
  • Understanding of the larger world must begin with a sense of the character and stories of our own city. Boston Beheld presents marvelous images and rich commentary on the early development of New England's premiere city, and showcases the visual treasures preserved in its public collections.

    Carl R. Nold
    President and CEO, Historic New England and Chairman, American Association of Museums
  • Brenton Simons gives both social and historical context to some of the finest views of Boston ever created. It's a pleasure to see these ‘antique’ representations of the city, many of them not on public display, collected in one informative and beautiful edition. His eye for pictorial detail is ably matched by his expertise in the region’s history, and he has produced a tribute to the many artists who were inspired by the city.

    Malcolm Rogers
    Director, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

About the Author

D. Brenton Simons

D. Brenton Simons, author of the award-winning Witches, Rakes, and Rogues: True Stories of Scam, Scandal, Murder, and Mayhem in Boston, 1630–1775 (2006), is President and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the nation’s leading center for family and local history research.

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