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Architectural Panel: River Scene

Probably 1860-1872
Origin: America, New York
Unframed: 12 3/4 x 28 1/4in. (32.4 x 71.8cm); Composition: 10 1/4 x 25 5/8in. (26 x 65.1cm); and Framed: 15 1/16 x 30 1/2 x 1 5/8in.
Oil on wood
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1977.110.1,1
A river scene with a canal to the left. A wide bank, about the width of a man's height, separates the canal from the much wider river. A man walks along the dividing bank with a fishing pole over one shoulder. A canal boat is being drawn along the canal by a mule on the dividing bank, ridden by a man. Four men appear on the canal boat. There is a red-roofed building on the land side of the canal, i.e., at far left in the picture. This is situated at the foot of a steep, rocky cliff. To the right of the canal bank appear two flat boats in the water with several men on each. At far right in the painting, several ducks swim on the river in the foreground. Beyond them is a boat with three men fishing. In the middle ground at the right, the far right river bank picks up, and a man stands there fishing from the bank lined with trees. Mountains appear across the background; those in the far distance are low and blue with puffy yellow and bluish clouds above them. The river is wide and broken in the center by a small island on which a small building sets among trees. A triple arched bridge joins the island to the mainland at R, a double-arched bridge does the same at L. The landscape at R consists of near hills and distant mountains, with a building at the foot of the bridge. At L, part of a town is situated on the bank where the bridge joins it; these buildings stretch back far beyond the bridge, suggesting a town of cosiderable size. Above the town, stretching up to the L of the buildings, is a rather bleak hillside. Coming forward from the town is a flat bridge, spanning another section of the river. An unpainted border about 1 1/4-inches wide has been left all around the scene; the panel is rabbetted on the reverse. A build-up of paint at the edges of the painted section seems to indicate that the panel was painted while in place, i.e., while held in place by its architectural framing.
The 2 1/2-inch white-painted cyma reversa frame is a modern addition.
Label:Hidley earned about a dollar a day graining and marbleizing interior woodwork and painting scenes in homes in and around Poestenkill, New York. His scenes, often adapted from contemporary prints, included European landscapes, Hudson River views, Biblical stories, and flower pictures. This panel was once fitted into the architectural framework within a house, but the structure has not been identified.
Provenance:Walton (AARFAM's vendor) said the panel came from an upper NY state home but gave no details (letter of 10-11-1976).