HILL, John (1770-1850, engraver) and Joshua H. SHAW (1776-1860, artist)
View on the North River
Philadelphia: published by Thomas T. Ash, . Aquatint by Hill after Shaw, coloured by hand. Upper blank left corner replaced, not touching the image. In fine French washline mat. Sheet size: 17 x 12 1/2 inches.
A rare example of a print from an extremely rare work that is now considered to be a "milestone in American printmaking ... a foundation book for American color-plate publication, being the first publication in the United States of large colored landscapes essentially scenic in effect" (Koke).
This atmospheric image of the Hudson or North River is from a suite of twenty plates published under the general title 'Picturesque Views of American Scenery'. The original intention had been to publish 36 plates in six parts but the work was abandoned after only four parts had appeared (published primarily by Matthew Carey & Son). Thomas Ash acquired the rights to the set and republished them in 1835. Any examples from either edition are now rare.
Joshua Shaw, a British-born landscape artist of note, was inspired by the magificence of the American landscape ("in no other quarter of the globe are the majesty and loveliness of nature more strikingly conspicuous than in America"). Shaw set out to popularise the picturesque in America. His beautiful images were skillfully interpreted by engraver John Hill and the results can rightly be said to have been one of the elements which led to the growth of what became the Hudson River School of landscape painting. The popularity of the Hudson River School from the mid-1820s onwards, paid dividends for Shaw's work as well and Thomas Ash was encouraged to reprint the series in 1835.
Deak 315.16 (title given as view on the Hudson River); cf. Fielding 644-662; cf. Howes S345; Koke, Checklist of John Hill 52 (2nd state); cf. Reese, American Color Plate Books 5; cf. Stauffer 1343; cf. Stokes III:567; cf. Sabin 79935.