Skip Navigation

Sketchbook: Overland Trip to Washington Territory

William Trost Richards

American Art

In 1885 Richards made a two-month rail trip to the Tacoma Territory (present-day Washington State). Tacoma City was the terminal point for the Northern Pacific Railroad, whose directors may have sponsored the artist’s tour in the hope that his paintings would stimulate interest in the region. Richards also made studies en route back east, as this view of the Missouri River demonstrates. The panoramic image of the broad river plain stretching away to the horizon and the expanse of blank paper dramatize his wry observation in a letter home: “The great west is certainly very great, but there are not at present many people in it.”
MEDIUM Graphite on white paper
DATES September 1885
DIMENSIONS 5 1/16 x 7 5/8 in.
CREDIT LINE Gift of Edith Ballinger Price
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Sketchbook of 32 pages of landscape sketches in graphite. Mostly scenes of shorelines and trees. Inside cover: upside down manufacturers stamp in purple ink, "Janentsky & Weber, / ARTISTS' MATERIALS, / 1125 CHESTNUT ST. / Philadelphia" p1, yellow paper. Mathematical calculations. Loose sketch unintelligible p2 River and mountains. Inscribed lower right, "[illegible] Missouri / sept 5 '85" p3 Shepherd with flock in field, trees and mountains in distance. Inscribed lower left, "patches of / gray sage grass" and at bottom center-right, "near [mandan?] / Dakota / Sept 5'" p3 verso to p4 Loose sketch of river and hills, inscribed lower right "Missouri River at / Bismark Sept 5 / 85" p5, Sketch of tree p6 Body of water with mountain rising in background. Inscribed lower right "Mt Baker / Strait of fuca" [Juan de Fuca] p7 Loose sketch of river with steamboat and smaller boat. Inscribed lower center, "Missippi [sic] River / Sept 6' 1885" p8 Loose sketch of river and hills p8 verso - p9 Loose sketch of clove between hills p10 Loose sketch of water, with fallen tree branch laying on shore and hovering over water. p11 Sketch of three trees within marked border/frame p12 blank p13 Creek (?) running through wooded area, grassy meadow, cow grazing p14 blank p15 Panoramic view of expanse of trees, viewed from high up p16 Rocky coastline, turbulent waters p17 Loose sketch of water with sun rising/setting p18 Loose sketch of water/waves crashing p19 Loose sketch of rocks p20 Loose sketch of water, waves p21 Grassy meadow, cows grazing, trees in distance p22 Oriented vertically, grassy meadow on the border of wooded interior p23 Oriented vertically, Sketch of trees p24 Oriented vertically, Sketch of trees p25 Oriented vertically, Sketch of trees p26 Very loose sketch, coastline? p27 Turbulent water, waves p28 Rocky coast with waves p29 Very loose sketch, Rock formation in upper right. Possibly the beginning of a rocky shore p30 Rocky coastline with turbulent water p31 blank p32 Waves/turbulent water, stormy sky
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.