|Picturesque Views, ca. 1829-1836|
|Clews, Near Fishkill, Hudson River|
William Guy Wall was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1792 and came to the United States in 1818. He studied art with John Rubens Smith, and in the summer of 1820, the two took a trip up the Hudson River, reaching as far north as Luzerne. In 1821, a prospectus appeared in newspapers in major American cities, offering readers the chance to subscribe to the Hudson River Port Folio, “containing twenty-four views of the north river, selected by W. G. Wall, during a tour in the summer of 1820, and painted by him in his best manner, and with a faithful attention to nature. To be engraved by J. R. Smith, in aquatint, in a manner peculiarly adapted to represent highly finished drawings.”
|W. G. Wall, View Near Fishkill|
|Clews, West Point, Hudson River|
Smith began the engraving process, but was soon replaced on the project by John Hill, a London-born engraver who had achieved fame for his work on Joshua Shaw’s Picturesque Views of American Scenery, the first large-format color-plate book printed in America (1820). The sixth number of the Port Folio was never produced, making a total of five parts with four prints each, issued once per year. Each number cost $16.00, making it well beyond the reach of most Americans—indeed, it’s likely that many more people would have been familiar with Wall’s views through their reproduction on ceramics than through the original prints.
|W. G. Wall, West Point|
|Clews, Newburgh, Hudson River|
|W. G. Wall, Newburg|
For the final leg of our journey through New York State, we’ll be visiting another natural wonder—Niagara Falls—and a man-made marvel—the Erie Canal.
Philip J. Weimerskirch, “Two Great Illustrated Books about the Hudson River: William Guy Wall’s Hudson River Port Folio and Jacques Gérard Milbert’s Itinéraire pittoresque du fleuve Hudson,” in Adirondack Prints and Printmakers: The Call of the Wild.
Ellouise Baker Larsen, American Historical Views on Staffordshire China, 3rd. edition (Dover Publications, 1975)
A Hudson River Portfolio, a New York Public Library online exhibit