HILL, John (1770-1850, engraver) & William Guy WALL (1792-1864)
Rapids Above Hadley's Falls. No. 4 of the Hudson River Port Folio
New York: Henry Megarey, [1822-23]. Aquatint, coloured by hand, by John Hill, after W.G. Wall. Sheet size: 23 5/8 x 17 3/4 inches.
In the summer of 1820 the Irish-born and trained landscape artist William Guy Wall (1792-after 1864) went on an extended sketching tour of the Hudson River Valley and its environs. A selection of Wall's watercolors recording sights on his tour was engraved by the master printmaker John Hill (1770-1850) in The Hudson River Portfolio, published in New York City by Henry J. Megarey between 1821 and 1825. Long considered a cornerstone in the development of American printmaking and landscape painting, its twenty topographical views cover roughly 212 miles of the 315-mile course of the Hudson River. This undertaking paved the way for a wider public appreciation of landscape in the United States. The first series of prints to make Americans aware of the beauty and sublimity of their own scenery, the seminal Portfolio helped to stimulate national pride and cultural identity The commentary notes that: "This view of the Rapids was taken from a favourable point between the Falls and Jessup's Landing, where the Hudson sweeps round an elbow of stupendous rocks, just before it takes its leap over the precipice which gives the name to the great falls. The bed of the river is here sunk between two magnificent walls of perpendicular cliffs, which rise to the height of 70 to 80 feet. Towering and massive rocks are, perhaps, the most striking images of solitude and sublimity. The picture before us exhibits images of this character, in their fullest perfection; and, in combination with another feature of the grand and impressive order conveys to the mind a most effective idea of romantic loneliness. The excellence of Mr. Wall's water scenery has been before alluded to."
Deak 320; New York Historical Society notes to an exhibition on the Hudson River School.