Little Falls at Luzerne (No. 1 of The 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 printed in color with hand-coloring; first state of two
Image: 14 1/16 x 20 3/16 in. (35.7 x 51.3 cm)
Sheet: 19 x 24 1/2 in. (48.3 x 62.2 cm)
The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954
Not on view
This vista in the foothills of the Adirondacks centers on a ten-foot drop in the Hudson near the hamlet of Luzerne (now Lake Luzerne), and looks back towards the peaks where the river originates. The aquatint 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 William Guy 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 popularity of the Portfolio stimulated new appreciation for American landscape, and prepared the way for the Hudson River School.
Inscription: Inscribed in plate, lower center: "Little Falls at Luzerne / No. 1 of the Hudson River Portfolio / Published by Henry I. Megarey New York"; lower left: "Painted by W. G. Wall"; lower right: "Engraved by I. Hill" Letterpress description on opposite page
Edward W. C. Arnold; Donor: Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold
Stokes III.572.2; Fielding III.637; Koke 1961, 84
Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, compiled from original sources. 5 vols., 1915–1928, vol. III, p. 572, no. 2.
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. 637, p. 135.
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. 84, pp. 31, 36.
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, Related watercolor by Wall. 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, pp. 98-99, 166-68.
Artist: After William Guy Wall (Irish, Dublin 1792–after 1864 Ireland (active America))Date: 1821–25Medium: Aquatint printed in color with hand-coloring; first and second statesAccession: 54.90.1274(1-20)On view in:Not on view
Artist: John Hill (American (born England), London 1770–1850 Clarksville, New York)Date: ca. 1826–30Medium: Watercolor, pen and black ink, and graphite on off-white wove paperAccession: 54.90.283 rectoOn view in:Not on view
Artist: John Hill (American (born England), London 1770–1850 Clarksville, New York)Date: 1826Medium: Fragment of a black and white watercolor aquatint on off-white wove paperAccession: 54.90.283 versoOn view in:Not on view