When I stumble upon artifacts specific to Rosslyn or Essex or Lake Champlain or the Adirondacks I’m usually unable to resist collecting and showcasing them for others to enjoy. Often I can explain precisely why the artifact is of interest, but other times I’m unable to explain clearly, succinctly the appeal. Today’s discovery is fated to this latter purgatory I’m afraid.
This antique print appeared at auction but its purchase eluded me. It would have been nice to get a closer look, and to properly decipher the artist’s name (not 100% ineligible in this digital facsimile).
According to the auction listing, the page was pulled from the July 1882 issue of Harper’s Weekly, and the title offers a glimpse into the narrative it was illustrating.
THE “TRIBUNE” FRESH-AIR FUND—CHILDREN’S EXCURSION TO LAKE CHAMPLAINHarper’s Weekly, July 1882
This evocative antique drawing captures the hope and energy of a children’s book illustration, inviting daydreams of carefree country living along the shores of Lake Champlain.
There’s plenty to appreciate in this drawing. My eye is especially drawn to the vignette subtitled “At a bee swarming” and located near the center of the image. While the drama of finding and trapping a bee swarm (presumably to populate a bee hive) is the clear focus of this freeze-frame, it’s the background which leaps out at me. Do you see building boasting a sunburst ornamented pediment? The architectural illustration may or may not have been inspired by a visit to Essex on Lake Champlain, but it certainly appears likely!