HILL, John (1770-1850, engraver) & William Guy WALL (1792-1864)
Fort Edward. No. 10 of the Hudson River Portfolio
New York: Henry J. Megarey, . Aquatint, colored by hand, by John Hill, after W.G. Wall. Sheet size: 18 x 24 1/4 inches.
A great example of one of the earliest and finest American printed landscapes
This serene landscape portrait looking down the great Hudson River toward West Point is a fine example of the Wall/Hill collaboration in which an apparently straightforward depiction of water, trees, hills and sky creates a rich, evocative mood, a sense of vast calm.
"The Hudson River Portfolio, a series of twenty views...celebrates the beauty of the Hudson and its surroundings. It is amongst the finest collections of New York State views ever published...The aquatints show us the region of the Hudson's headwaters, the rapids it creates on its journey downstream, the bridges it makes imperative overhead, the trade that its navigability spawns, and, most of all, the ennobling topographic settings through which it passes. In the final view, New York from Governor's Island, we see the Hudson at the end of its journey, where it joins the East River in New York Bay...William Guy Wall...was a native of Dublin who came to America in 1818...Beginning in 1826, he exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design...[He was skillful with atmospheric perspective in his landsacpes, and he created almost spiritual effects with light, at a time when viewers were used to literal depictions. Between 1828 and 1835 he remained in America, but then returned to Dublin for twenty years. He came back to America for four years between 1856 and 1860, before again returning in Ireland where he lived for the remaining four years of his life] Wall frequently worked in tandem with John Hill, whose emigration from England predated that of Wall by two years...According to Koke, 'the artistic achievement for which Hill is best known...was the Hudson River Portfolio, a landscape series closely akin to the Picturesque Views of American Scenery recently finished for the Careys' (John Hill Master of Aquatint, p.86)...Hill, an aquatintist virtually without peer in America, was called in to fill the place vacated by John Rubens Smith, who dissociated himself from the Portfolio before he finished engraving the four plates of the first number...Hill belonged to a small group of English-trained engravers who raised the level of American print-making to an extraordinary degree" (Deak, pp. 217-218).
Koke, A Checklist # 86; Deak, Picturing America #320.