Gallery Bookshop Index Queries Contact home Marine Americana Maps NatHist Fine Vanity Views Historical British Sporting AmerInd Rare






The Philadelphia Print Shop

Prints of Niagara Falls

Views of Niagara Falls

As the Niagara River, with its magnificent Niagara Falls, cuts its broad course across the Niagara Peninsula, so illustrations of the river and the falls cut a wide path through the history of prints of America. More printed views of Niagara Falls were published before the twentieth century than of any other American landmark. Indeed, Niagara Falls may be the most pictured site in the world.

Views of Niagara Falls are one of our specialties and here we list the prints we currently have in our inventory. If you are looking for a particular image which is not listed here, please feel free to contact us so that we can notify you should this print become available.

[ Niagara Falls page 2 | Reference book on Niagara Falls prints ]
Other view pages: [ Location Index | Subject Index | Artists ]

Break


Kalm Niagara Falls
After Peter Kalm. "A View of the Fall of Niagara." From Gentleman's Magazine. London, February 1751. 4 x 7 1/4. Engraving. Bottom margin a bit ragged. Otherwise, excelletn condition. Impressions of Niagara: 6.

One of the earliest available views of Niagara Falls, this print is derived from Father Hennepin's original image with modifications based upon an account by Peter Kalm, a Swedish botanist who visited Niagara Falls in 1750. A letter from Kalm to a friend in Philadelphia was printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette, September 20, 1750. The letter was reprinted in Gentleman's Magazine, January 1751, as "A letter from Mr. Kalm, a gentleman of Sweden, now on his travels in America, to his friend in Philadelphia, containing a particular account of the Great Fall of Niagara, September 2, 1750." This engraving appeared in the same magazine one month later with an image that was based on Hennepin by way of the view of Niagara that appeared on Henry Popple's map of North America issued in 1733. The Popple image was modified party for artistic reasons-for instance the three large pine trees on the brink of Goat Island-and though it is unlikely Kalm had anything to do with the making of this engraving, the view was further modified by a number of new features that derive from the text of Kalm's letter-including a flock of birds going over the brink of the falls, an Indian ladder down the embankment, two men crossing the river to Goat Island, and the elimination of Hennepin's third cascade. An early and influential image in the iconography of Niagara Falls. $280



Prevost Niagara
After L. Hennepin. "Wasserfall von Niagra." From Abbe Prevost's Allgemeine histoire des reisen zu wasser und lande. Leipzig: Arkstee & Merkus, 1758. 7 x 10 3/8. Engraving. Very good condition. Impressions of Niagara: 9.

Prevost's important series of travels, Histoire Generale des Voyages, went through many editions, including an edition issued in Leipzig just a year after the first French edition. Not surprisingly, all of the editions included a print of Niagara Falls, one of the most famous natural wonders of the world. This engraving is a close derivative of the first image of Niagara Falls by Louis Hennepin, which originally appeared in 1697. The main difference is that the image has been reversed. Also, one of Hennepin's four onlookers was eliminated and a small group of spectators was added on the brink of the Horseshoe Falls (on the left). Also, some boats have been added in the Niagara River above the Falls. With its long run and wide distribution, the prints of Niagara Falls from Prevost's volumes probably had more to do with the spread of the Hennepin prototype of Niagara Falls than the original engraving. A delightful eighteenth century image of Niagara. $275



After Hennepin
After L. Hennepin. "Cataracte de Niagara." From Abbe Prevost's Histoire Générale des Voyages. Paris, ca. 1760-80. Engraving. 7 x 10 1/4. Very good condition. Another version of Hennepin's view, this from a French editoin. Similar to the print above, but not reversed. $225



Pierie's Niagara Falls
Richard Wilson after Lt. William Pierie. "View of the Cataract of Niagara." London: Richard Wilson, 1774. 16 1/2 x 20 5/8. Engraving by William Byrne. With several repaired tears, one extending well into image at left. Title area with tears and some missing surface; expertly repaired. Overall image and impression is very good. Impressions of Niagara: 13.

Lieutenant William Pierie was a British artilleryman who in 1768, while stationed at Fort Niagara, sketched Niagara Falls. The sketch, only the second known drawing of Niagara made on the spot, was sent to London where Richard Wilson, England’s leading landscape artist, painted a large canvas--five foot by six foot--based on it. That image was engraved by William Byrne and published by Wilson in 1774, making it only the second print of Niagara not based on Hennepin’s. Thomas Davies’ 1768 engraving was the first, but the Pierie/Wilson view is a considerably more accurate portrayal. “We may say, in a sense, that Niagara art began with Hennepin; but in its higher sense, it began neither with Hennepin nor Davies, but with Pierie.” (Frank H. Severance, Studies Of The Niagara Frontier, Buffalo, 1911, p. 123) $2,800



Hancock perspective view
Robert Hancock. "The Waterfall of Niagara." London: Laurie & Whittle, [May 12, 1794]. On wove paper. 9 1/4 x 15 1/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Trimmed close around image. Very good condition. Impressions of Niagara: 21.

A "perspective view" of Niagara Falls from the late eighteenth century. A perspective views, or "vue d'optique," is a special type of popular print published in Europe during the eighteenth century. These prints were a form of entertainment meant to be viewed through a device called an "optical machine" or an "optique." This machine used a lens to enhance for viewers the magnification and perception of three-dimensional depth of the prints. There was usually text at the bottom of the prints, often in several languages, which could be read by the operator of the optique for the benefit of his audience. Another attribute of these prints is their bright, often crude hand coloring, applied boldly so to show the tints when viewed through the lens.

This print of Niagara Falls was drawn by Robert Hancock. It was based upon an inset view on Henry Popple's "A Map of the British Empire in America," issued in 1733. The Popple map included engravings of Mexico, New York, Quebec, and Niagara Falls, and all of these images were very influential. The Popple view of Niagara Falls was particularly important because it was the source for this print by Robert Hancock which was itself the prototype for a whole series of other prints of Niagara issued in various eighteenth century publications. (Cf. Impressions of Niagara, p. 25ff.) Hancock followed Popple quite closely, though with some changes. The famous "third cataract" is eliminated and three large pine trees are drawn on the lip of Goat Island. Hancock has added more spectators in the foreground and a single canoe in the river above Goat Island. Of particular interest is Hancock's rendering of Native Americans portaging goods for Europeans up an incline on the right, one of the earliest depictions of this important activity. This particular edition of Hancock's print was first issued by Laurie & Whittle in 1794. $1,400



Weld: Horseshoe Fall, Niagara
Isaac Weld Jr. From Travels through the states of North America...during 1795, 1796 and 1797. London: John Stockdale, 1798. Each ca. 6 3/8 x 8 7/8. Engravings. With folds as issued. Very good condition.

Attractive and accurate views of Niagara Falls from an early travel account of an eighteenth century visitor to America. These images of Niagara were drawn by Isaac Weld during his travels through the United States from 1795 to 1797. So impressed was Weld with this famous site that he had an entire chapter on Niagara Falls, which included these three views and map. These included the first separate view of the Horseshoe Falls which it is interesting for its accuracy, especially compared to many of the other images of Niagara in the eighteenth century.



Prints drawn by Bonfils; finished by Dupare. From Michel-Guillaume Saint Jean de Crèvecoeur's Voyage dans le Haute Pennsylvanie. Paris: De Crapulet, 1801. Engravings by P.F. Tardieu.

A pair of strongly engraved prints of Niagara Falls from Michel-Guillaume Crèvecoeur's Voyage. Crèvecoeur was a Frenchman who lived and farmed in America in the late eighteenth century. In 1801 he issued an account of his peregrinations around the United States which included two views and a map of Niagara Falls. The Falls are shown with all the power they had before the building of the power plants from the unusual perspective of along the bank of the lower river below the falls. The use of the turbulent water, spray, and small foreground figures emphasizes the grandeur of the Falls.




Vanderlyn Niagara Falls
"A Distant View of the Falls of Niagara." London: John Vanderlyn, August 1804. 20 5/8 x 29 1/4. Aquatint by J. Merigot. Original hand color. Impressions of Niagara: 35. Torn in half, but expertly rejoined, practically invisible. Otherwise, very good condition.

John Vanderlyn (1779-1852) was the first professionally trained American artist to paint Niagara Falls. Vanderlyn made a trip to Niagara in 1801 in order to paint the Falls, and he completed his two magnificent canvases in 1803; this aquatint shows one of those images. Niagara Falls posed an artistic problem for, that of capturing both the grand scope of the sweeping vista of the two cataracts while at the same time evoking the power of the torrent pouring over the brink. Vanderlyn solved this problem by creating two images: one, "View of Niagara Falls," a distant image that depicts the entire panoramic sweep of Niagara, and the other, "A View of the Western Branch of the Falls of Niagara," that provides a close-up view from right at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls, conveying the immense emotive impact of the cascade.

In 1804 Vanderlyn had his two paintings made into aquatints for sale as decorative prints in Europe and North America. Vanderlyn's paintings are among the best ever made of Niagara, and the quality of the resulting aquatints is equally outstanding. However, the prints do not seem to have sold terribly well, for the prints are today extremely rare. The aquatints were issued both uncolored and colored, and this pair of originally colored prints is wonderful testimony to the superb quality of both Vanderlyn's artistic and business venture. $3,600



Wilson Niagara
John James Barralet after sketch by Alexander Wilson. "General view of the Falls of Niagara." From The Port Folio. Philadelphia: Bradford & Inskeep, and New York: Inskeep & Bradford, March 1810. 4 1/2 x 7 3/8. Engraving by George Cooke. Trimmed to neatline at top. Very good condition. Impressions of Niagara: 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 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. This poem was accompanied by engravings after Wilson showing scenes and events from the trip, including two views of Niagara Falls. $225



GoGo to second page of Niagara Falls prints


Break


OrderPlace Order Order




Views Spacer GallerySpacer HomeSpacer Site MapSpacer Book shop


break


To Contact us, call, write, fax or e-mail to:

PPS Logo The Philadelphia Print Shop
8441 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118 USA
(215) 242-4750 [Phone]
(215) 242-6977 [Fax]
PhilaPrint@PhilaPrintShop.com Mail Box

©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated January 28, 2013