A View of the Western Branch of the Falls of Niagara, Taken from Table Rock
Attributed to John Vanderlyn (1775–1852)
Probably New York, after 1801
Oil on canvas
34 x 42 in.
Bequest of Dorothy S. F. M. Codman
For early nineteenth-century New Englanders, the Falls of Niagara were a perfect symbol of the new nation. Powerful and beautiful at once, they were evidence of the awesome majesty and potential of the country. In 1801, John Vanderlyn became the first academically trained American artist to paint Niagara. He commissioned engravings to be made from his paintings and these found their way into countless American homes including Historic New England’s Quincy House, in Quincy, Massachusetts. During the ensuing years, Vanderlyn painted a number of copies of his original version. This is thought to be one of the later ones.
Note the print of this same view of Niagara on the back wall at left in the painting below. Click on the painting to get a closer look.