Think about it. Before photography was invented in the 1840’s every image we have of things was the result of a painting or sketch. Niagara Falls was one of the most universally painted scenes from the early to mid-1800’s. Many great artists were lured to the falls by their breathtaking power and beauty. The volume of art work relating to the falls is almost limitless. Plenty of these pieces of art have been reproduced as prints that were sold. I have in my own collections as number of reproductions of these pre-photography paintings of the falls.
The first true painters were military men-cartographers (map-makers), officers and soldier-artists who received formal art training at military academies in England.
The next time you visit Niagara Falls take a trip to the administration headquarters of The Niagara Parks Commission at 7400 Portage Road take a look at the magnificent collection of early Niagara art found in this building. The public areas of the headquarters is open free of charge during business hours. The 1826 t0 1836 paintings by military artist Lieut-Col.James Cockburn are most beautiful and at the same time accurate as to how the falls looked during this time period.
Here attached are a few photographs I took of the paintings.