On View Now: Harry Fenn and the Picturesque

We are pleased to announce our latest mini-exhibition in the First Floor Gallery just outside the Special Collections reading room: Harry Fenn and the Picturesque, curated by researcher Sue Rainey, who used our collections while working on her recent book, Creating a World on Paper: Harry Fenn’s Career in Art.

Sue Rainey's Creating  a World on Paper: Harry Fenn's Career in Art (University of Massachussetts Press, 2013)

The cover of Sue Rainey’s Creating a World on Paper: Harry Fenn’s Career in Art (University of Massachussetts Press, 2013). (Image by Molly Schwartzburg)

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Harry Fenn (1837-1911) played a key role in popularizing periodical and book illustration, the primary means of sharing images before photographs could be printed by the half-tone process. His appealing depictions of scenery and cities led to the publication of numerous illustrated books issued by subscription in monthly or bi-monthly parts. This approach had the advantage of securing advance commitments from subscribers to cover the substantial cost of illustrations. Fenn was the primary contributor to three highly successful serial publications of New York’s D. Appleton and Company: Picturesque America (1872-74), Picturesque Europe (1875-79), and Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt (1881-83).

The exhibition includes six items demonstrating the publication methods through which Fenn’s work was distributed, as well as an original artwork. Thanks to Sue Rainey for all her hard work on this wonderful exhibition. We encourage you to stop by and take a look!

Here’s a sneak peek:

Photo by Molly Schwartzburg

Photo by Molly Schwartzburg

4 thoughts on “On View Now: Harry Fenn and the Picturesque

  1. Lucky to find this blog about Harry Finn. I am in possession of an original or print of one of his works, Wharf on the river with windmill. Looking for identification. Would you be able to help me? Thank you.

  2. I have a lithograph of Columbia University in 1903 by Harry Fenn based on his ink drawing on Japanese paper. Through Columbia, Worldcat, the New York Public Library, I have been unable determine when it was made. I hold edition 275/350. Can you help? Many thanks, Katherine Davis

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