Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Troy from Mount Ida (No. 11 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; first state (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)
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
Text published with this image tells us that, "the city of Troy is delightfully situated on the east shore of the Hudson, about six miles north of Albany, and near the head of sloop navigation." It then describes the town's rapid growth as a trading center with a population over four thousand. The vista seen here, "embraces a most extensive and enchanting view; bounded on the south by the towering mountains of Katskill...The road, in the foreground...runs northward to Sandy-Hill, and Lakes George and Champlain." 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 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: "Troy From Mount Ida / No. 11 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.573.11; Fielding III.1460; Koke 1961, 77
Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, compiled from original sources. 5 vols., 1915–1928, vol. III, p. 573, no. 11.

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. 1460, p. 251 (under John R. Smith).

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. 77, pp. 32-33.

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, 166-168.

Michael Botwinick, Bartholomew W. Bland, Laura L. Vookles, Geoff Snell, Pat Hardy, Tara Dawson The Panoramic River: The Hudson and the Thames. Exh. cat., February 2 to May 19. Hudson River Museum, 2013, fig. no. 63, pp. 101, 193.

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