Landscape with Tower (from McGuire Scrapbook)

Artist: Thomas Cole (American, Lancashire 1801–1848 Catskill, New York)

Medium: Graphite on off-white wove paper

Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (21.6 x 16.5 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Gift of James C. McGuire, 1926

Accession Number: 26.216.20


Though the diminutive figures near the base of this graphite composition suggest a narrative involving a boat departure or arrival on the far bank of the stream, the subject has not been linked to any literary source or other pictorial narrative by Cole. Medieval subjects including towers, however, are familiar in his paintings, in landscapes both Italian and British in inspiration. This one appears British, its turret resembling the one in Cole's 1838 historical painting The Past (Mead Art Museum, Amherst College), in which, as part of a castle, it serves as a foil for an equestrian joust in the foreground.