On a hike or a day trip around Upstate New York, it’s not unusual to snap a few photos. Grab your phone, aim, shoot, memory. But for William England, a British photography pioneer, his pictures of Kaaterskill Falls took considerably more effort.

England traveled to the United States from Britain in 1859 for his work with the with the London Stereoscopic Company. In the 1850s, photography was still very new. Equipment was heavy, delicate, and took astounding patience.

What Brought William England To Upstate NY?


The demand for photographs of New York's famous natural areas, like Niagara Falls or Sleepy Hollow, was very high in those days. Companies like the London Stereoscopic Company would buy the equipment then send photographers around the world to capture images for the public to see.

Thankfully for us, Mr. England had a true eye for beauty and spirit for adventure that led him to the Catskills. His photos explore the area around Kaaterskill Falls, including Kauterskill River, Fawn’s Leap waterfall, and the forest itself.

Are These The First Photos Of The Catskills Ever Taken?

While there is an ambrotype photo of the town of Catskill that could date anywhere from 1855-1860, England’s high-quality photos perfectly showcase the beauty and serenity of Kaaterskill Falls and the surrounding area that people still travel to see (and photograph) today.

England’s dedication to capture Upstate New York nature became the basis for his later work in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. His Alpine photography was regarded as some of the best of its era, and is still highly sought after by collectors today.

Are These 1859 Photos The First Taken Of The Catskills?

These photographs by William England for the London Stereoscopic Company could be the first to feature Upstate New York's natural beauty.

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