Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

New Acquisition: A View of Norfolk

Academic journal article The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

New Acquisition: A View of Norfolk

Article excerpt

The advent of photography would gradually but steadily give nineteenth-century Americans fresh ways of visualizing their nation and its people. Exact images of persons, places, and events provided new perspectives on life and landscape. But the use of photographs in mass-produced publications was still a ways off in the years immediately following the Civil War, and publishers continued to rely on drawings and sketches produced by a diverse group of artists to illustrate stories, products, and news.

That reliance was not without its own set of benefits, however, as the artists naturally employed their own sets of skills and perspectives when recording their subjects. They interpreted what they saw and added sensory expressions to the things they depicted.

Such is certainly the case in a recent acquisition, a view of the Norfolk waterfront drawn by Boston native James Wells Champney (1843-1903), a well-respected portrait painter who doubled as an illustrator. …

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