John Hill

(American born England, 1770 - 1850)

John Hill was an important early 19th century printmaker. Born in London in 1770, he had an active career in that city before immigrating to America. He made topographical plates for many English books, including Pugin and Rowlandson's "Microcosm of London" (1808-11). Hill arrived in New York City in 1826, but settled initially in Philadelphia, where he collaborated with Joshua Shaw, whose paintings he etched and aquatinted for inclusion in the pioneering "Picturesque Views of American Scenery" (1819-21). Issued in three numbers, it was one of the first projects devoted to recording American scenery. The book included views of the kind of wild, uninhabited landscape that was to become the favorite subject of the Hudson River School. Hill moved to New York City in 1822 to engrave, in aquatint, watercolor views of the Hudson River area by a London-trained contemporary, William Guy Wall, for the subsequently very popular "Hudson River Portfolio"(1821-25). He also made views of Niagara Falls and West Point, and worked for a number of publishers until his retirement in 1836 on a farm near West Nyack, NY.