Collect Pond, New York City

Artist: Attributed to Archibald Robertson (American, Moneymusk, Scotland 1765–1835 New York)

Former Attribution: Formerly attributed to Alexander Robertson (1772–1841)

Date: 1798

Medium: Watercolor and black chalk on off-white laid paper

Dimensions: 17 3/4 x 23 1/16 in. (45.1 x 58.6 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: 54.90.168


The natural pool Collect Pond was formerly located in lower Manhattan near present-day Foley Square. Robertson’s watercolor of the site exemplifies the formulaic method of drawing taught at the Columbian Academy of Painting in New York City, founded by the artist and his brother Alexander. Both the hill at left and the willow tree at right are rendered in highly stylized fashion, with broad contours and schematic curving lines. Spatial depth was achieved with swaths of dark wash in the foreground setting of the lighter forms in the distance. Indeed, the whole picture observes a kind of artistic etiquette embodied in the polite company of figures in the foreground.