After a landscape by William Redmore Bigg. “Cottage Scene”
Philadelphia, circa 1800 to 1810. 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 (image) plus margins. Stipple engraving by C[ornelius] Tiebout. Conserved. Backed for strength and to flatten an old horizontal bend near the tree top. Stauffer, 3207.
This scene can be classified as Americana because it depicts an American ideal. Cornelius Tiebout (1773-1832) had a little known but fascinating career as an engraver in the early American republic. His earliest work was done in New York City in 1789 when he learned engraving from a silversmith. In the first decade of the new nation he produced patriotic prints, and in 1793 he travelled to London where he studied under James Heath and learned stipple engraving. Having participated in the London art community, he returned to New York in 1796 where he worked for three years, then moved to Philadelphia where he was active and influential for at least twenty five years. In 1825 he and his daughter Caroline moved to New Harmony, Indiana where they produced beautiful natural history prints for Thomas Say’s volumes illustrating insects and shells.
This depiction of a British cottage scene after a painting by the English artist William Redmore Bigg (1755-1828) shows Tiebout at his artistic best as he raised his work above bank note engraving. As Tiebout was returning to Philadelphia at the turn of the century, the Romantic, Irish poet Thomas Moore was said to have stayed in a rustic cabin about which he wrote a poem beginning with the line, “Alone by the Schuylkill a wanderer rov’d.” The story and site is generally considered fictitious, but it makes a lovely anecdote in and of the time while providing Tiebout with a fine genre print. See Joseph Jackson. Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, pp. 896-7.