Catalog Archive
Auction 142, Lot 254

"A View in Hudson's River of the Entrance of What Is Called the Topan Sea / Vue sur la Riviere d'Hudson, de l'Entrée Counue sous le Nom de Mer de Topan", Pownall, Thomas

Subject: Hudson River, New York

Period: 1761 (dated)

Publication: Scenographia Americana

Color: Black & White

20 x 13.1 inches
50.8 x 33.3 cm
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Born in 1722, Thomas Pownall was a British politician, artist and mapmaker. He first traveled to America in 1753 as private secretary to Sir Danvers Osborne, who had just been appointed Governor of New York. Osborne committed suicide shortly after arriving in New York, leaving Pownall without a job or sponsor. After traveling widely through the Middle States at his own expense, Pownall was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey in 1755, and then served as Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1757-60. During his travels in America, Pownall drew sketches of several scenic views, which he published in 1761 in Six Remarkable Views in the Provinces of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

In 1768, these six views were republished in Scenographia Americana, which contained 28 plates from different artists. The Scenographia Americana included views from Canada to the Caribbean, and was essentially an “imperial travelogue” through the British North American colonies at the end of the French and Indian War. Although several libraries own the Scenographia Americana, no complete editions are known to have been sold at auction in the last 30 years.

This is one of six prints in the Scenographia Americana that was based on Pownall’s sketches. Pownall’s drawing was further enhanced in a painting by Paul Sandby, a successful promoter of topographic landscape art, who also helped found the Royal Academy dedicated to visual art. This view depicts a portion of the Hudson River known as the Tappan Zee (or Tappan See), a natural widening of the river just 10 miles north of Manhattan. The impressively steep bluffs of the New Jersey Palisades are shown at left, with several small sailboats cruising the river. Engraved by Peter Benazech and published by Thomas Jefferys.

References: cf. Deak #106.

Condition: B

There are professional repairs to several separations along a vertical fold, as well as a few tears in blank margins that enter 1" to 2" into image. Trimmed to plate mark.

Estimate: $2,100 - $2,400


Closed on 11/28/2012