Captain Watson's Travels in America
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Captain Watson's Travels in America
The Sketchbooks and Diary of Joshua Rowley Watson, 1772-1818

Kathleen A. Foster. Commentaries on the plates by Kenneth Finkel

408 pages | 11 x 8 1/2 | 18 color, 159 b/w illus.
Cloth 1997 | ISBN 978-0-8122-3384-1 | $89.95s | £58.50 | Add to cart

Winner of the 1998 Literary Award from The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

From 1816 to 1817, British naval captain Joshua Rowley Watson visited friends in Philadelphia and toured the northeastern United States. During that time he filled two sketchbooks and a diary with impressions of travels that took him to Washington, Boston, and the wilds of the Hudson River valley. Watson's record proves to be a charming and graceful observation of the American scene. With a style reminiscent of eighteenth-century British topographical draftsmen, Watson's watercolors joined the flow of British art in America that ultimately formed and inspired the Hudson River school.

Kathleen Foster has now gathered this previously unpublished material into a handsome volume that presents a fresh view of American art, architecture, landscape, and society in the Jeffersonian era. Her book comprises an extended essay on Watson's life and travels, a discussion of his artistic style, a guide to the diary, and the complete diary itself. Of the more than 140 drawings and watercolors, the 18 color and 90 black-and-white reproductions from Watson's work allow an appreciation not only of his considerable talent but also of the early American landscapes he encountered, from scenes along the Schuylkill to Lake George to the Chesapeake.

A Barra Foundation Book

Kathleen A. Foster is Curator of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Art at the Indiana University Art Museum. Kenneth Finkel is Program Director for Culture and Children at the William Penn Foundation and former Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

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