Pennsylvania Scenery

For a larger view and a map featuring the scene’s location, click on the image above.

James Thackara 
American, 1767–1848
After Thomas Bedwell 
American, b. England, active 1779–1795
View of a Pass over the South Mountain from York Town to Carlisle
Etching and engraving, 3 1/2 x 6 7/8 inches
Published in the May 1788 issue of The Columbian Magazine
Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager

The Columbian Magazine, a miscellany of history, science, and literature, regularly included images of the American landscape on its pages. This view, which would have been well known to travelers on Dill’s Road between the towns of York and Carlisle in south-central Pennsylvania, served as the frontispiece to the magazine’s May 1788 issue. The location is near present-day Dillsburg, at the foot of South Mountain, where Matthew Dill constructed a tavern around 1755 that became an important way station for the area during the latter years of the eighteenth century.
James Thackara trained as a printmaker in Philadelphia with James Trenchard, a Philadelphia artist who was involved on many levels with The Columbian Magazine. Thackara was one of the founding members of the short-lived Columbianum (1794–95), the first attempt at establishing an art academy in the United States, and he later held the position of curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The artist who produced the drawing for Thackara’s engraving here, Thomas Bedwell, was best known for his role in a Philadelphia  firm that produced printed linens and wallpaper.