In the classic column on “-arama,” Cecil claims that Ripley’s claims that Robert “Barker’s paintings were … up to three miles long…”
For a period spanning the 1790s, I think this is a bit far-fetched. How long might it take, even with several artists working in unison, to paint a 3-mile-long mural without the benefit of spray paints? Why did Cecil present such an unlikely “fact” without really questioning it?
The sources immediately available via Google suggest 300 feet as the length of the large panoramas (at 10,000 square feet), which appear to have taken several months to paint. This figure seems to be roughly based on the 90-foot diameter of the panorama building in which the art was displayed. See this interesting nearly contemporaneous account.
Perhaps someone else painted a panorama 3 miles long, but it seems unlikely. Christo wasn’t around back then.