Benjamin Franklin Smith
American, 1830–1927
After B. F. Smith and John William Hill
American, b. England, 1812–1897
Printed by Sarony, New York
Published by Smith Brothers & Co.




Made in the same year as John Bachman's Bird's Eye View of Philadelphia, though from a less dramatic vantage point, this panoramic overlook was made after a watercolor by John William Hill, son of John Hill, who aquatinted the sheets from Lucas' Progressive Drawing Book and Picturesque Views of American Scenery on view in the exhibition. The younger Hill was trained as an engraver by his father, but developed a propensity for the kind of cityscapes that would interest view makers from the topographic studies he produced while working for the New York Geologic Survey in the 1830s.

The inscriptions accompanying the lithograph suggest that Hill worked with Benjamin Franklin Smith on the original watercolor before Smith drew it onto stone. B. F. almost invariably provided the artistic talent when collaborating with one or more of his older brothers, Francis, George Warren, and David Clifford Smith, all initially from Maine, who collectively and individually ran print publishing firms in Boston and New York between 1849 and 1855. With the money they made in the lithography business, the brothers moved west, where further successes in banking, mining, real estate, and livestock brought them a huge fortune. Benjamin Franklin Smith returned to his hometown of Rockport, Maine, in 1880, and when he died in 1927, he was reportedly the wealthiest man in the state.

Adapted from the entry written by Judith Hansen O'Toole for the 1980 Pennsylvania Prints exhibition catalogue.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager




John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager Collection, Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University


This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Color lithograph with additional hand coloring; 29-1/4 x 44-1/4 in. (74.3 x 112.4 cm)


United States, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (county), Philadelphia