Baker’s Falls, No. 8 from The Hudson River Portfolio

William Guy Wall (American, b. Ireland, 1792–1864)
1821–25
MediumAquatint and engraving, hand-colored with watercolor
Dimensions14 1/8 × 21 1/8 inches
CreditMuseum Purchase, 2015
Accession Number2015.03

This extraordinary illustrated series predates the development of the Hudson River School of painting. Traveling up the valley a few years before Thomas Cole, Wall frequently included a small figure within the landscape as a compositional device to draw in the viewer.

John Agg, author of the accompanying text, stresses the heroic effort required to see the picturesque cascade so frequently noted in 19th-century guidebooks: “The best view of them is obtained from the foot of the rocks, and descent to which is … calculated to deter the traveler (sic), except him who, disdaining superficial views of the wonders of nature, pursues them through all varieties of toil and difficulty, and experiences an accession of enjoyment in proportion to the labour (sic) and fatigue he may have surmounted in obtaining it.”

Exhibition History