HILL, John (1770-1850, engraver) & William Guy WALL (1792-1864)
Palisades [No. 19 of the Hudson River Port Folio]
[New York]: G & C & H Carvill, 1828. First state of two. Aquatint, coloured by hand, by John Hill, after W.G. Wall. Sheet size: 18 x 24 1/4 inches.
"William Guy Wall shows us the Palisades in their stark splendor, allowing very little animation in his riverscape to detract from the majesty of the natural wonder. Sailboats, dwarfed by the height of the bluffs, are reflected in the water, as is the towering stone wall." (Deak, 321) 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. In 1764, Albert Baker built Kingsbury's first sawmill near what is known today as Baker's Falls. As early as 1792, the area of Kingsbury near Baker's Falls was referred to as Sandy Hill. In 1810, the hamlet incorporated as a village, keeping the name Sandy Hill. Its boundaries expanded to their current limits in the 1840s. In 1910, the village's name was changed to Hudson Falls The plate engraved by John Hill was published in 1822-23. Its text notes: "To the eye accustomed to dwell on the calm and cultivated beauty of a European landscape, if the scenery of the annexed engraving appear defective in some of those features which lend grace and animation to a picture, it affords a cheerful and striking contrast to the grandeur of the Highlands. Here the Hudson forfeits its right to the name of the North River, suddenly departing from its accustomed course, and conducting its waters in a western direction. The fall of water, in this place, is very diminutive, although sufficient to keep the mill in operation which speculative industry has erected upon it. The section of road is that leading to Glen's Falls, Lake George, &c."
Cf. Deak, Picturing America 320 & 321; Koke, A Checklist of the American Engravings of John Hill .