The Falls of Niagara

Artist: Edward Hicks (American, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 1780–1849 Newton, Pennsylvania)

Date: ca. 1825

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 31 1/2 x 38 in. (80 x 96.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1962

Accession Number: 62.256.3


Hicks visited Niagara Falls in 1819, but he based this composition on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. As seen from the Canadian side, the falls are replete with the moose, beaver, rattlesnake and eagle, all traditional emblems of North America. The long poem inscribed around the picture is an excerpt from Alexander Wilson's "The Foresters" that originally appeared as a serial in the Philadelphia periodical "The Port Folio" in 1809–1810 and was reprinted at Newtown, Pennsylvania in 1818. Another version of this subject by Hicks was painted in 1835 (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia).