Pennsylvania Scenery

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

John Hill
American, b. England, 1770–1850
After Joshua Shaw 
American, b. England, c. 1777–1860
View on the Wisahiccon, Pennsylvania
Aquatint and etching with hand coloring, first state of two, 9 1/2 x 13 3/8 inches
From Picturesque Views of American Scenery
Published in 1820 by M. Carey & Son, Philadelphia
Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager

Hill specialized in the technique of aquatint, which, because of its wide range of tonal possibilities, is ideal for creating a play of light and dark that gives a greater sense of three-dimensionality to the printed image. Because the intricacies of the medium were not well understood on this side of the Atlantic, Hill’s services were in high demand for several decades after his arrival in Philadelphia from publishers in need of attractive naturalistic illustrations.
The Wissahickon (as the name of the creek is spelled today) flows into the Schuylkill River just above the Falls. The accompanying text locates the view about four miles north of the Schuylkill and asserts: "Nothing can be more picturesque than the scenery through which this wild and beautiful stream passes."