Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glenns Falls (No. 6 of The Hudson River Portfolio)

Series/Portfolio:
The Hudson River Portfolio
Etcher:
John Hill (American (born England), London 1770–1850 Clarksville, New York)
Artist:
after William Guy Wall (Irish, Dublin 1792–after 1864 Ireland (active America))
Publisher:
Henry J. Megarey (American, 1818–1845 New York)
Date:
1822
Medium:
Aquatint printed in color with hand-coloring; first state of two (Koke)
Dimensions:
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)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954
Accession Number:
54.90.1274(6)
Not on view
Text accompanying this print tells us that the falls "present to the eye of the spectator immense masses of water, rushing down over broad platforms of rock, in a hundred rival cataracts, and as many different directions...the Hudson in this place, descends, by an almost regular series of capacious steps, forming a variety of cascades of an imposing extent, and of incomparable beauty. The height of the entire fall is estimated at near seventy feet; although, to a superficial observer, this calculation may appear exaggerated, as the number and magnitude of the stoney masses which interrupt the course of the waters, detract considerably from its apparent altitude." This view was taken near a toll bridge that spans the river below the village at Glens Falls, with the Adirondacks visible at the horizon, and 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: Inscribed in plate, lower center: "Glenns Falls / No. 6 of the Hudson River Port Folio / "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.572.6; Fielding III.632; Koke 1961, 80
Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, compiled from original sources. 5 vols., 1915–1928, vol. III, p. 572, no. 6.

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. 632, p. 135.

Richard J. Koke "John Hill, Master of Aquatint, 1770–1850." New-York Historical Society Quarterly. vol. 43, no. 1, January 1959, pp. 86-92, 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. 80, p. 34.

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, 166-168.



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