Hadley's Falls (No. 5 of The Hudson River Portfolio)
The Hudson River Portfolio
Begun by John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York)
Finished by 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)
W. B. Gilley (New York, NY)
John Mill (Charleston, South Carolina)
William and Charles Rollinson (American, active ca. 1808–33)
Aquatint printed in color with hand-coloring; second state of three (Koke)
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
When the artist William Guy Wall, and writer John Agg, visited this site, north of Glens Falls on the Hudson, it was hard to reach. The text accompanying the image tells us that, "a moment's view of these Falls...as they suddenly burst upon the sight of the traveller...is sufficient compensation for all the difficulties he may have encountered. Instead of one unbroken sheet of water, falling perpendicularly...the whole body of the river seems to have forced a passage through the intercepting barrier of cliffs which obstructed its course; with ungovernable fury and deafening clamour, over a gradual but rugged declivity, composed of the massive and tenacious fragments which its impetuosity has thrown down." The image 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 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: "Hadley's Falls / No. 5 of the Hudson River Port Folio / Published by H. I. Megarey & W. B. Gilley New York and John Mill Charleston, S.C.; lower left: "Painted by W. G. Wall"; lower right: "Engraved by I. R. Smith / Finished by J. Hill" Letterpress description on opposite page
Edward W. C. Arnold; Donor: Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold
Stokes III.572.5; Fielding III.633; Koke 1961, 33
Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, compiled from original sources. 5 vols., 1915–1928, vol. III, p. 572, no. 5.
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. 633, p. 135.
Richard J. Koke "John Hill, Master of Aquatint, 1770–1850." New-York Historical Society Quarterly. vol. 43, no. 1, January 1959, Note. 48, p. 88, pp. 86-92, 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. 78, p. 33.
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, 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 Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York)Date: 1816Medium: Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on off-white wove paper, backed with laid paper and mounted on a wood strainerAccession: 11.60.180On view in:Not on view
Artist: Formerly attributed to John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York)Date: ca. 1816Medium: Watercolor, black ink, and gouache on white laid paperAccession: 22.28.1On view in:Not on view