American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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A Portrait of the Country

Grand Falls at Niagrara from the Observatory
Michael Seymour (1802-1887)
Grand Falls at Niagara from near the observatory, Goat Island, July 22, 1846
Watercolor, 1846

The Capitol from the Railway Station
Michael Seymour (1802–1887)
The Capitol from the Railway Station, Washington, U.S., July 29, 1846
Graphite and watercolor wash, 1846
Prints & Photographs Division
Purchase, 1999 (29.6 a,b)
[ Digital ID#s ppmsca-05572, ppmsca-05573 ]

Captain Michael Seymour, commanding officer of the H.M.S. Vindictive, toured the eastern seaboard for fifteen days in July 1846, traveling through Boston, the state of New York, Philadelphia, and finally Washington, D.C. He captured the landscape of a growing republic in the British tradition of topographical draftsmanship. In a letter to his daughter he described Niagara Falls at length, writing, "They are quite terrific to stand near, and contemplate from some, of the points of view either below or overhanging them. I, of course, tried to make a few sketches, but it is impossible to give on paper the Grandeur and immensity they possess. . . ."

Approaching West Point, going down the Hudson
Michael Seymour (1802–1887)
Approaching West Point, going down the Hudson, July 24, 1846
Graphite and watercolor wash, 1846
Purchase, 1999 (29.9b)
Digital ID# ppmsca-12376

Grand Falls at Niagara from Biddle Stair, Goat Island
Michael Seymour (1802–1887)
Grand Falls at Niagara from
Biddle Stair, Goat Island
,
July 22, 1846
Graphite and watercolor wash, 1846
Prints & Photographs Division
Purchase, 1999 (29.9a)
Digital ID# ppmsca-12375

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