ROBERT HAVELL, JR. (1793-1878): Panoramic View of New York Taken From the North River.

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ROBERT HAVELL, JR. (1793-1878):

Panoramic View of New York Taken From the North River.

Hand-colored etching and aquatint,

13 ½” x 37 ½” sheet.

London: Ackermann & Co., c. 1840-44.

The Arader copy of Havell’s iconic panorama is remarkable for the richness of its colors. Note how the different shades of blue become its underlying theme as they develop from the dark hues of the foreground into the ethereal quality of the sky. With its pendant - the “East River View” - the print emulates a painterly effect reminiscent of French watercolor techniques. It is in excellent condition and was formerly owned by the Down Town Association in New York.

Price: $22,000 / $38,000 (pair) ____________________________________________________________________________

Description: As pointed out by Stokes (1918) the “Panoramic View of New York Taken From the North River” exists in different states; the present copy was published in the 1840s and unlike earlier editions, it shows a two-funnel steamer, as well as the dome of the Merchants’ Exchange on Wall Street.

The latter also suggests that Havell drew his view some time after the fire of December 16, 1835 when the first Merchants’ Exchange was destroyed; the new building was only completed in 1840. Together with the additional publisher’s line, this points towards the identification of the Arader print as the fifth state of the famous cityscape.

As for the colorist, it is safe to recognize the hand of Henry Havell - Robert’s brother - in the delicate handling of the blues. He lived in New York during the years 1844-45 and is recorded as “printcolourer” (sic) at 7 ½ Bowery.

Robert Havell is best known as the formidable engraver of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America”. As one of the pre-eminent English engravers, his name first appears in connection with the Audubon elephant folios. In 1839 he emigrated to the United States and after an initial stay in Brooklyn, he settled in Ossining and Tarrytown where he perfected his skills in the engraving and aquatinting of city views, as well as in the depiction of landscape scenes. Havell is considered a member of the Hudson River School.

Lit. Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes: “The Iconography of Manhattan Island”, New York 1915-1928.