South View of the Several Halls of Harvard College. Taken from the Balcony of the President’s House. Alvin Fisher, after, Annin, engravers Smith.

South View of the Several Halls of Harvard College. Taken from the Balcony of the President’s House.

Boston: Published by Cummings, Hilliard & Co., May 1st 1823. Fisher Pinxt. Annin & Smith Sc. Copper-plate engraving, 9 7/8” x 14 15/16”, plus margins.

A rare and very fine engraved view of Harvard, based on a painting by early American view and landscape painter Alvin Fisher.

This evocative 1820s engraving depicts the campus from the south, showing the six halls that constituted the campus at the time: Massachusetts Hall, Harvard Hall, Stoughton Hall, Holworthy Hall, and University Hall, each of which is identified in print just below the image. The scene is animated by students on the grounds, one throwing something to another from an open window on the second floor of Massachusetts Hall, others horsing about under a tree, etc., capturing something of the madcap youthful energy of college life. A variety of rather lively, mainly coniferous trees appears in the foreground.

On May 1st, 1823 Cummings and Hilliard published a pair of views after paintings by Alvan Fisher, the view offered here and North East View of the Several Halls of Harvard College, engraved by C.C. Torrey. These views were preceded by three other large format views of Harvard: an engraving after William Burgis entitled A Prospect of the Colleges in Cambridge, New England, published in 1725 and issued again in 1743, an engraving by Paul Revere after Joshua Chadwick entitled A Westerly View of the Colleges in Cambridge, New England, published in 1768, and an engraving by Henry W. Snyder after an anonymous painting entitled View of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, published in 1820. The Burgis and Revere views are virtually unobtainable, and the Snyder and Fisher views are both quite rare.

Alvin Fisher (1792–1863) was born in Needham, Massachusetts and, at any early age, moved with his family to nearby Dedham, where he resided for the rest of his life. At eighteen, Fisher apprenticed himself to John Ritto Penniman, a Boston artist specializing in decorative painting and portraits. In 1815, Fisher opened a studio in Boston, and found considerable success traveling widely, painting landscapes, a relatively new theme at the time, and portraits.

A lovely, early view of Harvard.

REFERENCES: Stokes & Haskell P. 1822--E-142; Stauffer 109.

CONDITION: Good, some soiling to margins.

Item #2236

Price: $3,500.00

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