HAVELL, Robert (1793-1878)
View of the City of Boston from Dorchester Heights
New York: Published by W A Coleman ... for Robt. Havell, Sing Sing N.York, 1841. Aquatint by and after Havell, printed in blue and black by W. Neale, 'Coloured by Havell & Spearing.'. Sheet size: 15 1/8 x 20 3/4 inches.
A "majestic view of Boston" (Deák) by Havell: landscape painter and engraver of Audubon's masterpiece.
"Robert Havell gives us a majestic view of Boston composed of highly ordered elements: the open-spaced rusticity of the foreground, which serves as a staging area for viewing the city, is linked to the densely developed metropolis in the background by a curving watercourse ... The city itself is presented most appealingly in the configuration of a terraced pyramid where solid buildings and graceful church spires make their way steadily to the top. Although an air of ... tranquillity prevails, the sky-canopied view is crowded to the very edges with signs of industrial and trading activities. Bostonians familiar with the nineteenth-century topography of their city are likely to be able to identify a host of buildings and locations. The most conspicuous architectural landmark is ... the State House, the large, domed building at the pinnacle of the view" (Deák).
No doubt inspired by the example of John James Audubon, his long-time collaborator and friend, Robert Havell had emigrated to America in September 1839. He settled at Tarrytown, beside the Hudson River, and went on to establish himself as both an engraver and landscape painter of note. The painting on which the present print is based was first exhibited by Havell in 1841 at the National Academy of Design.
Deák Picturing America 509.