1908 Nichols / Rummell View of the University of Vermont

[University of Vermont]. - Main View

1908 Nichols / Rummell View of the University of Vermont


New insight into the Nichols - Rummell relationship.


[University of Vermont].
  1908 (undated)     17 x 30 in (43.18 x 76.2 cm)


A rare 1908 signed Harley D. Nichols photogravure view of the University of Vermont. The view bears some similarity to the work of Richard Rummell, to whom it is commonly and erroneously attributed, but this is wholly the work of Nichols.
A Closer Look
The view looks east on UVM over the University Green. Recognizable buildings include, at center, Williams Hall, flanked by Lafayette Hall on the right and Billings Library on the left. John Dewey Hall appears at far left. A stylish convertible roadster and well-dressed men and women populate the foreground - a distinctive divergence from Rummell's work which rarely includes people. The Green Mountains roll gently in the background.
University Views
Although this work is not by Rummell, both Nichols and Rummell share the same publishers, in this case Elson, and clearly collaborated. Nichols' name appears on other views, but the relationship with Rummell was never clearly understood. Rummell was an American landscape artist known for his drawings of American universities. At the turn of the century, Littig and Company commissioned Rummell, and apparently Nichols as well, to prepare watercolors of some of the nation's most prestigious colleges. From these watercolors, copperplates were engraved, and a limited number of photogravures and engravings were issued. Most of these university views are strikingly similar in style, revealing the entire campus in panoramic splendor. The views are uniformly issued from an altitude of about 300 feet, suggesting the artists most likely worked from balloons.
Publication History and Census
The view is signed by Nichols with a date of 1907, and a copyright date of 1908. This view is often erroneously attributed to Richard Rummell, given the shared publisher, Elson, and a clear similarity in style. However, Rummell's name appears nowhere on this work, or in any other example of the University of Vermont view, suggesting it is fully Nichols' work. As it lacks a title, this example is likely a proof. One of the rarer university views in the Rummell style.


Harley DeWitt Nichols (February 3, 1859 - October 9, 1939) was an American architect, etcher, illustrator, bird's-eye view artist, and painter. Nichols was born in Barton, Wisconsin. He studied art in New York and Munich, and afterwards divided his time between Brooklyn, New York, and Los Angeles, California. He illustrated books, taught art (Echo Mountain Summer School), worked with Harper's and Century magazines, and collaborated with Richard Rummell (1848 - 1924) to produce bird's-eye views of American universities. He returned to San Juan Capistrano, California, and died in Laguna Beach. He was a lifelong member of the Salmagundi Club of New York. More by this mapmaker...

Alfred Walter Elson (March 20, 1859 - November 22, 1938) was an American photographer, printer, and lithographer based in Boston. Elson was born in Massachusetts, the son of German-Bavarian immigrants. Elson's father, Julius, was a jeweler. Elson operated under the imprint of A.W. Elson and Company, active from roughly 1894 to 1925. Elson is best known for his fine photogravure plates, among them many of Richard Rummell's iconic college views. Elson prints are often mis-identified as 'Welson' due to the often-weak impression of his imprint. The Elson offices were located at 146 Oliver Street, Boston. Elson died of a lingering sickness in 1938. He was survived by his wife Maud, who lived until 1955. Learn More...


Very good. Some uneven toning.