View of South Street, from Maiden Lane, New York City

Artist: William James Bennett (American, London 1787–1844 New York)

Date: ca. 1827

Medium: Watercolor on off-white wove paper

Dimensions: 9 5/8 x 13 5/8 in. (24.4 x 34.6 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: The Edward W. C. Arnold Collection of New York Prints, Maps, and Pictures, Bequest of Edward W. C. Arnold, 1954

Accession Number: 54.90.130


Born and trained in London, Bennett learned well the conventions of the architectural and street views perfected by the Venetian artist Antonio Canaletto, who worked in England in the mid-eighteenth century. Immigrating to the United States about 1826, Bennett adapted the conventions to New York, then undergoing rapid urbanization with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Unlike the Bennett watercolor, “Weehawken from Turtle Grove” (54.90.107) the topography here is entirely man-made, with the bustle of South Street mediating the forest of masts and the opposing palisade of warehouses. Bennett engraved this watercolor for “Megarey’s Street Views in the City of New-York” (1834).