"Rapids of the Niagara falls." From The Port Folio. (Vol. VI; No. 1), July 1811. Philadelphia: Bradford & Inskeep, and New York: Inskeep & Bradford. Aquatint. 3 3/8 x 6. Fielding: 1857, Impressions:45.
A very early anonymous American aquatint from The Port Folio. "The artist who furnished us with the plate...has made an attempt, at a mode of engraving, new in this country." (p.42) The Port Folio was a new type of American magazine, "Devoted to Useful Science, the Liberal Arts, Legitimate Criticism, and Polite Literature." It was a product of the new century, appearing first in January 1801. It began as a weekly issue until 1809, when it became monthly until its demise at the end of 1827. As with the many magazines that followed it, The Port Folio included numerous illustrations, including this unusual view of Niagara Falls. The print is of the rapids just above the American Falls, though the execution makes this hard to see. This rare print is most interesting for its history as one of the first American aquatints and for its unusual image of the Falls. $95
"General View of the Falls of Niagara." From John Melish's Travels through the United States of America in the Years 1806 & 1807, 1809, 1810 & 1811. London and Dublin, 1818. Engraving. 4 1/4 x 6 3/4. Very good condition. Not in Impressions of Niagara.
An obvious copy of the Alexander Wilson image by George Cowie in London and John Cumming in Dublin. The image was taken from Wilson's "The Foresters" as issued in The Port Folio. As with the many magazines that followed it, The Port Folio included numerous illustrations, including this view by Alexander Wilson. Wilson (1766-1813) is best known as the 'father of American ornithology,' but he was also a poet and landscape artist. In 1804, Wilson and two companions traveled through the American backwoods on a grand excursion to Niagara Falls. This trip was celebrated in Wilson's paean to American nature, "The Foresters: a poem, descriptive of a journey to the Falls of Niagara in the autumn of 1804," which appeared in the Port Folio from June 1809 through March 1810. $150
After Isaac Weld "Veduta Generale della Cascata di Niagara." From Giulio Ferrario's Il Costume Antico e Moderno. Florence, 1828. 2nd edition. 4 x 6 5/8. Aquatint by Bernieri. Original hand color. Very good condition. Cf. Impressions 71.
Beginning in 1821, Giulio Ferrario issued a multi-volume work on the "Ancient and Modern Costumes: The history of the government, the militia, the religion, the arts and sciences, and the customs of all people ancient and modern." This included a number of excellent, rare views of America based on various artists. This print is an early view of Niagara Falls based on Isaac Weld's late 18th century "View of the Falls of Niagara," though with some interesting modifications. The perspective, the rendering of the falls themselves, a large mound of whitewater breaking over a rock in the middle of the river, and the on-lookers in the foreground on the river bank are closely followed from the Weld print. However, these details are put into a Hennepin-style format, taking from Hennepin the course of the river and the nature of the countryside above the falls, the style of the surrounding foliage, and the shape of the cliffs around the cataracts. $150
William James Bennett. "Niagara Falls. Part of the British Fall, Taken from under Table Rock." New York: Henry J. Megarey, 1829. First state. 20 1/2 x 16 3/4. Aquatint and etching by John Hill. Original hand color by J. Hill. Tears, one extending right through image, expertly repaired. Overall time toning. Image and appearance otherwise very good. Framed. Impressions of Niagara: 85.
A rare aquatint based on a painting by William J. Bennett which he made during a trip to Niagara in 1829. This is one of two prints of the Falls which were issued by publisher Henry J. Megarey that same year. The aquatints were issued as loose prints to be sold for souvenirs at Niagara Falls, and probably in other cities in the United States and perhaps overseas. They were produced in response to the great tourist boom at Niagara that followed the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.
This print represents the work of two of the greatest names in early American printmaking, William Bennett and John Hill. Hill, an Englishman who immigrated to the United States in 1816, soon became the pre-eminent American aquatint artist of the day. His only real rival in this medium was Bennett. Bennett, like Hill an English immigrant, was a landscape artist as well as aquatint etcher. Megarey was the first publisher to commission prints from Bennett and this image of Niagara was one of the first two large prints made by Bennett. This excellent pair of prints were the most impressive images of Niagara issued since Vanderlyn's pair from a quarter century before (cf. above). $1,800
After William James Bennett. "Niagara Falls." 1830-1833. 7 7/8 x 9 3/8. Lithograph. Original hand color. With two small rubbed spots in upper margin and repaired tear just past title at bottom. Overall, very good condition and appearance. Impressions of Niagara: Addendum: 97ad.
An unidentified lithograph based on W.J. Bennett's "Niagara Falls...this View of the British Fall taken from Goat Island." This is a very close copy, extended slightly to the left side with one extra goat added. This is an early lithograph, especially if it is American as appears likely. The Pendleton firm issued two smaller derivatives of Bennett's view in this period, so perhaps this is another version by that firm." $250
"The Waterfall of Niagara." From Christopher Kelly's Universal Geography. London: Thomas Kelly, . 5 5/8 x 8 1/4. Engraving. Hand color. Some minor staining and old repaired tear in margins. Overall, very good condition. Impressions of Niagara: 104.
A mid-nineteenth century engraving of Niagara Falls with its roots in the eighteenth century. In a number of geographies issued near the end of the eighteenth century, an engraving of Niagara Falls by C. Metz appeared. Almost a half-a-century later, when Christopher Kelly wanted an engraving of Niagara Falls to illustrate his geography, he turned to the Metz engraving as the basis for his "new" print. The Falls and landscape are basically the same (though to be fair the Falls itself had not changed that much since the late eighteenth century), but the sightseers were updated to be wearing clothing of the period rather than the fashions of the earlier engraving. A lovely print with an interesting history. $125
Thomas Cole. "A Distant View Of The Falls Of Niagara." From John H. Hinton's The History and Topography of the United States of North America. Boston: Samuel Walker, 1834. 5 1/2 x 7 1/2. Steel engraving by T.S. Woodcock. Impressions of Niagara: 108. Another image of Niagara from Hinton's History and Topography, this a distant view of Niagara Falls by American artist Thomas Cole. The falls is shown from quite a distance north, emphasizing the wildness of the scene rather than the power of the falls themselves. A lone Native America adds emphasis to Cole's image of the American wilderness as represented by Niagara. $55
Prints by William Henry Bartlett. From Nathaniel Parker Willis's American Scenery. London: George Virtue, . Steel engravings. Hand coloring. Fine condition.
William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854) was a British landscape artist famous for his views of all parts of the world. He made several trips to the United States to gather sketches for his book American Scenery. This charming collection of natural wonders, architectural monuments and city landmarks was one of the most successful and popular series of such views of the nineteenth century. These prints were first issued in parts from June 1837 to November 1839, then issued as part of a complete two volume book in January 1840. Bartlett's series of prints of Niagara Falls are among his most famous and they illustrate the views a typical tourist would have during a visit to Niagara.
Many of the visitors to Niagara Falls stayed at the famous Clifton House on the British side, just north of the falls. Upon walking out onto the front porch, this is the scene that they would see. Just in front of where they stood, now the location of the entrance to the incline railroad down to the Maid of the Mist, was a road which led down to the ferry to take them across to the American side. $75
This is the scene which the tourists could delight in while being rowed across the river in the one of the small wooden ferries, that is assuming they were not too nervous to enjoy the view! $75
After surviving the ferry trip, the passengers were landed at the foot of the American Falls, from whence they could climb a series of ladders up from the riverside. $75
After reaching the top of the ladder from the ferry, the tourists would find themselves at the brink of the American falls. $75
Crossing a bridge over to Goat Island, the visitors could view close up the turbulent waters as they crashed around the many small islands in the rapids. $75
Heading to the northern end of Goat Island, a tourist could cross a rickety wood walkway to a tower which was placed precipitously on the brink of the Horseshoe Falls. $75
Visitors who stayed on the British side could climb down to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls for an impressive look at the cataract from just under the impressively overhanging Table Rock. $75
Heading north from the Falls along the Niagara River, a tourist could visit the monument raised to General Brock, which was located at the edge of the escarpment. $75
From the escarpment, the visitor could look north along the twisting Niagara River to its outlet into Lake Ontario. $75
During the middle of the nineteenth century, print publishers like Currier & Ives issued frameable prints for the general public and Niagara Falls was a favorite subject for these. The artist who drew the largest number of original images of the Falls used in these prints was Fred H. Holloway, of which little is known. The New York firm of Sarony & Major, around mid-century, issued a series of four images of the Falls by Holloway, and these are amongst the most accurate and attractive prints of the sort. Holloway, who drew his images on the spot, includes lots of interesting details such as the observation tower and the ferry boat, making these prints as interesting historically as they are decorative.
One from a set of four prints after drawings done in 1846 by Major Henry Davis while he was on duty in Canada with the 52nd Lt. Infantry. These prints were made into very high quality chromolithographs, which well capture the feeling and power of Davis' canvases. As Jeremy Adamson remarked, "The four compositions are among the most romanticized conceptions of Niagara's grandeur." This print is perhaps the most interesting image from the set, for it shows a non-existent rocky island-with two figures standing on it-depicted lying in the rapids just above the brink of the Horseshoe Falls. Davis no doubt added this feature in order to be able to convey the size of the falls. A lightning storm is shown over Grand Island in the background. $950
Fred H. Holloway. "Suspension Bridge. Constructed 1854." Buffalo: ca. 1854-55. Ca. 7 3/4 x 12. Two tint lithograph by F.H. Holloway. With repaired tear into image at bottom. Title information quite faded. Image quite good. Impressions of Niagara: 268.
A rare, separately issued souvenir to celebrate the opening of the Suspension Bridge at Niagara in 1855. Another nice example of $250
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