Born and raised in England, Frances Palmer, according to Gloria Deak, was "the foremost woman lithographer of her time" ( Picturing America , 647). When Fanny, as she was known, arrived in America in 1844, she had already been a skilled lithographer. Within five years, she would be creating prints of landscapes and still lives for Currier with designs from her own sketches.
Palmer shows us a strolling couple pausing at a spring along the ascent to the Cozzens’ Hotel. The scene looks ruggedly natural, but in fact, William Cozzens went to great trouble to have a road cut through the rock for guests arriving at the Hudson River dock. Work on the road probably exposed the spring.
Admiration for scenery in the Highlands and Catskills was central to the development of the Hudson River School of painting, which in turn encouraged hoteliers, travel writers, and tourists. Palmer, working in New York as one of Currier & Ives most prolific artists, specialized in Hudson River views. She may have visited the spot, but could also have adapted a similar scene in Benson Lossing’s The Hudson from the Wilderness to the Sea, first published the year before this print.