The 20 engravings from The Hudson River Portfolio are touchstones for depictions of the river just before the emergence of the Hudson River School. The scenes reflect English concepts of the picturesque, but many also have horizontal compositions comparable to panoramas. Megary published the views in sets of four, engraved and hand-painted by John Hill and with text by John Agg, a journalist and poet. Agg’s descriptions are as much about the places — their history and current development — as about the illustrations. Less known and rarely found today, the texts are framed here with each print. (Baker’s Falls text is a reproduction)
Wall may have come to America in search of Hudson views or, upon arrival, been intrigued by the Hudson tour of Jacques-Gérard Milbert (opposite wall). The French artist’s book was not yet published, but Wall could have seen his original sketches. In 1820, Wall visited many of the same spots, though that is as much a sign of the early canonization of “must-see” views as of artistic influence.