Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Palisades (No. 19, Hudson River Portfolio)

The Hudson River Portfolio
John Hill (American (born England), London 1770–1850 Clarksville, New York)
After William Guy Wall (Irish, Dublin 1792–after 1864 Ireland (active America))
Henry J. Megarey (American, 1818–1845 New York)
Aquatint with watercolor; proof before letters
image: 14 1/2 x 21 7/16 in. (36.9 x 54.5 cm) plate: 17 15/16 x 24 1/4 in. (45.6 x 61.6 cm) sheet: 20 5/16 x 27 3/4 in. (51.7 x 70.5 cm)
Credit Line:
The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954
Accession Number:
Not on view
The related text tells us that, "The Pallisadoes consist of a line of rugged and perpendicular bluffs, which at a few miles distance from the city of New-York, margin for a considerable distance and overlook the bed of the Hudson river...Rising in savage grandeur, and stretching their tree-crowned summits far as the vision can compass, these rocks are too prominent a feature in the scenery of the Hudson to be overlooked. The abrupt, and the water sufficiently deep to allow vessels, even of considerable burthen, to approach within a short distance...The height of these bluffs....rising from 400 to 800 feet, exhibiting...steep and solid masses of stupendous stone, and presenting here and there deep cavities, where the eagle builds his nest among the cliffs." The print comes from the Hudson River Portfolio, a monument of American printmaking produced through the collaboration of artists, a writer, and publishers. In the summer of 1820, the Irish-born Wall toured and sketched along the Hudson, then painted a series of large watercolors. Prints of equal scale were proposed–to be issued to subscribers in sets of four–and John Rubens Smith hired to work the plates. Almost immediately, Smith was replaced by the skilled London-trained aquatint engraver John Hill, who finished the first four plates, and produced sixteen more by 1825. Over the next decade, the Portfolio sold thousands of copies, stimulated new appreciation for American landscape, and prepared the way for the Hudson River School.
Inscription: No engraved lettering
Edward W. C. Arnold; Donor: Edward W. C. Arnold
Fielding III.640; Stokes III.574.18; Koke 1961, 88
Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, compiled from original sources. 5 vols., 1915–1928, vol. III, p. 574, no. 18.

Mantle Fielding American Engravers upon Copper and Steel: Biographical Sketches and Check Lists of Engravings: A Supplement of David McNeely Stauffer's American Engravers. 1917, vol. III, no. 640, p. 136.

Richard J. Koke "John Hill, Master of Aquatint, 1770–1850." New-York Historical Society Quarterly. vol. 43, no. 1, January 1959, pp. 86-91, 101.

Richard J. Koke A Checklist of the American Engravings of John Hill (1770-1850): Master of Aquatint, Together with a List of Prints Colored by Him and a List of His Extant Original Drawings. New-York Historical Society, 1961, cat. no. 88, pp. 37-38.

Gloria Gilda Deák Picturing America, 1497-1899: Prints, Maps, and Drawings Bearing on the New World Discoveries and on the Development of the Territory that is now the United States, from the ...Collection ...of the New York Public Library. Princeton, N.J., 1988, cat. no. 321.

Catherine Hoover Voorsanger, John K. Howat Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825–1861. Exh. cat., Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sept. 19, 2000 to Jan. 7, 2001. New York and New Haven, 2000, fig. no. 152, pp. 194-5.

Kevin J. Avery American Watercolors and Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Voume I, A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born before 1835. New York, 2002, Hill's various roles in "The Hudson River Portfolio" summarized, cat. no. 14, p. 104.

Roberta J. M. Olson, Alexandra Mazzitelli Drawn by New York: six centuries of watercolors and drawings at the New-York Historical Society. 2008, Discusses the American careers of Hill and Wall, and the latter's watercolors for the Hudson River Portfolio, the eight known survivals of which are at the New York Historical Society. Plate 48a is the drawing for plate 19, pp. 98-99, 166-68.

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