[Album of watercolor of views of American cities, landscapes or ships]
Np: [circa 1817]. Oblong folio. (10 1/4 x 15 inches). 17 pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings (8 monochromatic, 9 in colors), depicting thirteen landscapes in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Virginia, and Canada, three of ships and one of a carriage. On J. Whatman wove paper, watermarked 1814. Each captioned below the image at a contemporary date.
Contemporary half tan morocco and blue marbled paper covered boards. Housed in a blue morocco box.
An extraordinary album of early, original watercolor views of the East Coast of America.
Although the artist of these highly-accomplished drawings has not been identified, they are of extraordinary quality, with an architectural draftsman's precision. The views are not after published prints, and would appear to be done from life. Although the elongation of some figures is highly reminiscent of William James Bennett, they also suggest another artist from the period, Axel Leonhard Klinckowstrom. Indeed, the view of New York from Long Island (i.e. Brooklyn) is similar to Klinckowstrom's view as illustrated in Bref om de Forenta Staterna, forfattade under en Resa till Amerika (Stockholm:1824). Klinckowstrom travelled for three years through the United States between 1818 and 1820, paying particular attention to the nation's transportation.
The dating of the album to circa 1817 is confirmed by the 1814 watermarks, the presence of a view of the Steamboat Chancellor Livingston (launched in 1816), and the depiction of the Battery and Castle Clinton prior to its being converted to a pleasure garden.
The watercolours in the album comprise (titles as per captions)
1) Quebec. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
2) South View of Boston. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
3) Natural Bridge Virginia. Pen-and-ink and sepia wash.
4) Citty [sic] Hall, New York. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
5) View of the Battery at New York from the North River. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
6) View of the Battery at New York from the East River. Pen-and ink and watercolour.
7) The Pilot Boat [T.H. Smith]. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
8) Falls of Niagara from Table Rock. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
9) Schooner. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
10) View of New York from Long Island. Pen-and-ink and watercolour
11) Steam boat Chancellor Livingston. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
12) View of Hurlgate [Hell's Gate] from the Rock in the East River. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
13) Boston Post Coach. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
14) Courtland Street Ferry [New York City]. Pen-and-ink and gray wash.
15) View of the Bridge across Schuylkill near Philadelphia. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
16) View of the Narrows of New York from Powlas Hook. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
17) View of New York from Powlas Hook. Pen-and-ink and watercolour.
Cf. Deak, Picturing America.