Print of Niagara Falls

Falls Print - L995.P.055.005

Colour print entitled The Waterfall of Niagara by Robert Hancock, Laurie and Whittle, in London, May 12th, 1794, followed by a description of the falls in French and English.

French explorers Jacques Cartier (1535), Samuel Champlain (1609) and Rene Brehan de Galinée (1669), heard about the mighty falls of Niagara from the Indigenous peoples. It was not until 1678 that Recollect priest Louis Hennepin (1626-1704) became the first white man to see the Falls. He wrote:

The Waters which fall from this vast height, do foam and boil after the most hideous manner imaginable, making an outrageous Noise, more terrible than that of thunder; for when the wind blows from off the South, their dismal roaring may be heard above fifteen Leagues off. (Zavitz, 2001)

His account attracted countless others and his 1697 drawing was reproduced in subsequent versions of the Falls as in this reproduction, in which we can see 18th century ‘tourists' at the base of the falls, as if led by a nearly naked Indigenous guide. On the right we can see a line of Indigenous men laboring to carry bundles of freight up the escarpment, a task known to have been handled by the local Seneca men, traveling what was called the “Indian Ladder”. This print was also inspired by “A View of the Fall of Niagara” that was published in The Gentleman's Magazine, in London, England, 1751.

[ Back to Extending the Rafters ]