Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1962
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 757
Hicks visited Niagara Falls in 1819, but he based this composition on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. As seen from the Canadian side, the falls are replete with the moose, beaver, rattlesnake and eagle, all traditional emblems of North America. The long poem inscribed around the picture is an excerpt from Alexander Wilson's "The Foresters" that originally appeared as a serial in the Philadelphia periodical "The Port Folio" in 1809–1810 and was reprinted at Newtown, Pennsylvania in 1818. Another version of this subject by Hicks was painted in 1835 (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia).
Inscription: [along the border]: The / Falls / of / Niagara / 18 / 25 / With uproar hideous' first the Falls appear, / The stunning tumult thundering on the ear. / Above, below, where'er the astonished eye / Turns to behold, new opening wonders lie, / This great o’erwhelming work of awful Time / In all its dread magnificence sublime, / Rises on our view, amid a crashing roar / That bids us kneel, and Time's great God adore.
Indiana art market; with Argosy Gallery, New York, 1957; Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Cambridge, Maryland, 1957–1962