FISHER, Alvan (1792-1863), after.
[South View of the Several Halls of Harvard College]
[Boston: Cummings, Hilliard & Co., 1823]. Engraving, by William B. Annin (1791?-1839) and George Girdler Smith (1795-1878) after Fisher. Proof before letters. On paper watermarked J. Whatman. Sheet size: 11 3/4 x 16 5/8 inches.
Very rare, and perhaps unique, proof impression of Fisher's acclaimed early 19th century view of Harvard: among the earliest obtainable views of Harvard.
"Fisher's beautifully balanced view depicts, from left to right, Massachusetts, Harvard, Hollis, Stoughton, Holworthy and University halls ... The artist executed his drawing from a slight elevation -- from the balcony of the presidents house, according to the lettering -- allowing him to gain a sense of the interior of the square formed by the buildings. In the foreground, he framed the image with the softening features of foliated trees and placed the study buildings against a canvas of sky" (Deak).
Published jointly with a North East View, the pair were sold for $4, according to the subscription advertisement in the 15 August 1821 issue of the Boston Daily Advertiser. Admirably engraved by Annin and Smith, among the most skillful engravers working in Boston at the time, Fisher's view comprises among the earliest to show the present Harvard Yard.
The present example is a proof before letters and before completion of the trees in the foreground or the sky.
Deak Picturing America , 329; Stauffer 109; Bail, Views of Harvard , pl. 36.