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Trenton High Falls

Not on view

Trenton High Falls

Artist: Edward Seager (American, 1809 - 1886)

Date: 1844
Medium: Graphite on cream-colored wove drawing board
Overall: 12 1/4 × 15in. (31.1 × 38.1cm)
Image: 8 1/4 × 10 1/2in. (21 × 26.7cm)
Signed: title, date and initials in lower right; paper manufacturer's stamp in upper right recto; inventory numbers on verso
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 97.6
Label Text
Trenton Falls is located several miles north of Utica in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. During the 19th century it was a popular destination for artists traveling east or west along the Erie Canal between the Hudson River and Niagara Falls. However, the experience of seeing Trenton Falls was not like Niagara where the sublimity of the site was comprehendible at a moment's glance. Rather, Trenton's picturesque sequence of cascades, cataracts and rapids--each different in scale, configuration and character--only revealed itself for those willing to hike along the banks of the West Canada Creek as it passed through the Trenton Falls gorge. Today, because the waters of the West Canada Creek at Trenton Falls have been harnessed by a hydroelectric plant, many of the cascades that contributed to the charm of this site are submerged under an artificial lake, and the few cataracts that were not inundated are generally closed to the public.

The peripatetic artist, Edward Seager, traveled and sketches in Canada, Europe, Cuba, Panama and the Virgin Islands and visited numerous picturesque sites in the United States from New England to Virginia. His 1844 view of Trenton Falls was made from a limestone ledge in the Trenton Falls gorge, looking up West Canada Creek. On the riverbank at the upper left is a small building called the Rural Retreat where tourists could enjoy the sound of the falling waters and view of the surrounding foliage.

December 2005