The Acquisitions Table: Trapper’s Last Shot

Booth, T.D. after William T. Ranney. Trapper’s Last Shot. Cincinnati, Ohio: T. D. Booth, for the Western Art Union, 1850.

Based on a painting by the American artist William T. Ranney, who was well-known for his images of Texas pioneers, woodland trappers and rugged landscapes, this engraving was originally offered as a members’ premium by the Western Art Union in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1850.  This organization was founded in 1847 to promote and cultivate the arts in the Midwest.  The engraving was the last to be issued by the group, which published a total of three large framing prints between 1847 and 1850.  It is also the last in the set to be acquired by the American Antiquarian Society. Discussions with AAS member James N. Heald last year resulted in a generous contribution from the Richard A. Heald Foundation to assist the Society in acquiring impressions of all known prints published by the various American art unions, with acquisitions to be made in honor of Georgia B. Barnhill.  We already hold a complete set of prints issued by the American Art Union (New York), the Cosmopolitan Art Union (New York) and now, the Western Art Union (Cincinnati).  Ranney’s image proved to be very popular with the American market.  It was reissued as a lithograph by Currier & Ives in the 1850s, and as a wood engraving in Harper’s Weekly in 1867.

4 thoughts on “The Acquisitions Table: Trapper’s Last Shot

  1. Christine

    I have this engraving. I purchased it an antique auction. It is 27″X21″. Is this one of the three you mentioned above? I would appreciate any info you may have on this. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Lhewes

      Christine, Since the image was issued in so many versions, I would need to see an image of your print to determine which one you found at the auction. Can you email me a photograph? My email at the Society is lhewes@mwa.org. The description will give you a good idea about how the engraving was distributed. I should be able to tell from your photo if you have the engraving, the lithographed version or the wood engraving. Lauren Hewes, Curator of Graphic Arts.

      Reply
  2. Sherri Sells

    I am trying to find out about the original oil painting “The Trapper’s Last Shot”, did the artist paint more than one, and where the original painting hangs? I run an antique store and a lady came in with a picture of an oil painting that she says she has had for 30 years and that it has been in her family for a very long time before that. Before it was in her possession a family member had it professionally cleaned and she says that they were told that the frame alone was worth $3000. She is just trying to find out if it could be an original. I only have a copy of the photo she brought in and it had a bit of blur from the flash but I can tell it looks like a good quality oil painting with good detail. She says it is 60 X 40. Any info you can give would be appreciated or if someone could direct me as to who I could ask?

    Reply
  3. Lauren Hewes

    Sheri Sells,

    There are three known versions of the oil painting, all of which were in private collections in 1970. There is an article about them in The American Art Journal (Spring 1970): 92-99, written by Francis Gruber, which you might find helpful. Perhaps one of those is the same as your client? If I recall correctly, all three are photographed in the article, although in black and white.

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