A RARE AND SPLENDID VIEW OF EARLY NEW YORK
Engraved by P.C. Canot (1710 - 1777)
16 x 21 ½ inches sheet, 18 ¾ x 24 ½ inches framed. Engraving on paper (fading and toning consistent with age). Title in English and French on lower margin. Annotation identifying Howdell as artist and Canot as engraver below. Plate legend on lower margin identifying well-known sites such as Staten Island, Long Island, and South River.
This rare and splendid view of early New York was drawn on the spot by Captain Thomas Howdell of the British Royal Artillery shortly before the start of the American Revolution, and engraved by the masterful Pierre-Charles Canot of England. The scene depicted is taken from the southern slope of Mount Pitt, which is near the intersection of today’s Henry and Montgomery streets on the Lower East Side of New York. This view serves as an important historical record of New York’s early growth and appearance just prior to the American Revolution.
In the far left foreground we see two buildings of the Rutgers house, which was built in 1754-5. The meadow south of the Rutgers house, with its rich and lush foliage, is a prominent feature in many of the views and plans of the period. The middle ground shows ships sailing serenely across a ribbon of water. Across the harbor, on the far right of the composition, we see the roofs of the city with Trinity Church and the New (or Middle) Dutch Church prominent on the skyline. The numbered key (1-7) in the lower margin guides the viewer to important early sites around New York, such as the harbor, Nutting Island, Staten Island, Long Island, South River, and Brew-house. Brooklyn is also visible in the far left. This fascinating glimpse of New York City, which then comprised little more than the very southernmost tip of Manhattan Island, is a very rare view dating from this crucial period.
The land of New York was discovered in 1524, and colonized by the Dutch in 1624, when it was named New Amsterdam and became a trading port of the Dutch West India Company. In 1664 this Dutch colony was surrendered to British forces and renamed New York after James Duke of York (1633-1701), who had been granted the land by his brother King Charles II. Within fifteen years of this present view, New York would become one of the most important cities in the new nation. Today it is a vibrant and diverse beacon of culture, finance, and education for the world.
You are warmly invited to visit our gallery at 1016 Madison Avenue in New York City to view this work whenever it might be convenient.