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View of the Capitol

Artist:
Charles W. Burton (American, born England 1807, active New York 1840–49)
Date:
1824
Medium:
Watercolor, pen and black ink, and gum arabic on off-white wove paper
Dimensions:
16 x 24 13/16 in. (40.6 x 63 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1942
Accession Number:
42.138
Not on view
During his residence in America (ca. 1819-1842) Burton established a reputation as a draftsman of diminutive ink and watercolor drawings that were designed for publication as engravings. This watercolor was made the same year in which the original U.S. Capitol building was finally declared finished. Burton’s drawing style is distinguished by its precision and by the small size of the figures in relation to their surroundings. His careful rendering of the building facade and the dome are convincing, but his grasp of perspective was limited. Here, for example, Burton relied on diminishing rows of poplar trees to convey a sense of recession up the avenue toward the Capitol, but the figures moving along the paths are not scaled with the same consistency. Nonetheless, the overall effect is charming.
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