This colored print depicts the Friends Meeting House on Cherry Street in Philadelphia. The two-story brick building is framed by a long, high stone fence. Parishioners are walking along the outside of the fence in modest, proper attire: women in floor-length skirts, bonnets, and parasols; while the men wear long frock coats, breeches, and brimmed hats.
A Friends Meeting House is a building designated by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), where religious ceremonies and community meetings are usually held. Quakers have always reserved the word “church” to mean the body of people who make up the worshipping community, not to refer to a bricks and mortar building. The hallmark of a meeting house is extreme simplicity and the absence of any liturgical symbols. Meeting houses built in a traditional style usually had two meeting rooms: one for the main meeting for worship, and another where the women's business meeting could be held. Equal seating is along the sides of the room so there is no front or back.
This print was produced by William L. Breton and the lithographic firm of Kennedy & Lucas. William L. Breton was a watercolorist and lithographer known for creating scenes of Philadelphia life between 1825 and 1855. Breton was born in England ca. 1773 and immigrated to Philadelphia about 1824. He worked from the late 1820s throughout the early 1830s with Kennedy & Lucas. William B. Lucas was a Philadelphia gilder who owned a looking glass and print shop. He established what was said to be the first commercial lithography firm in Philadelphia in 1828. Within a few months another gilder, David Kennedy, became a partner in the firm. David Kennedy was also a carver and shop owner, and he managed a Philadelphia tavern in the 1920s. The company continued until Lucas died in 1833. The collaboration between Breton and Kennedy and Lucas resulted in a whole series of lithographic views of Philadelphia churches of different denominations.