Not just celebrated for picturesque beauty, the Highlands at West Point was a busy commercial location. The degree of detail in this extra-wide view makes it a rare and valuable document of the heavy boat traffic on the Hudson.
The artist, who must have been influenced by panoramas or even planning one of his own, might be William Thompson Van Zandt (b. 1819) or Thomas Kirby Van Zandt (1814-1886), though neither is known for landscape. The format was ideal for capturing the sense of being surrounded by the hills, sloops, and schooners from a water-level point of view.