Nauvoo on the Mississippi
Dark greenery forms a picturesque frame around the landscape, which contains a view of a steamboat on the Mississippi River. On the opposite bank is the city of Nauvoo, an historic curiosity in Illinois, which was established in 1839 by Mormon settlers led by their prophet, Joseph Smith. In 1841, the Mormons began building an extravagant limestone temple on the highest point in Nauvoo. This painting shows the temple without its tower and may depict the building in the 1850s after it was partially destroyed by fire and a tornado. By 1865, the temple had been fully demolished, two decades after the Mormons had abandoned Nauvoo to push further west. This painting closely resembles a colored engraving of Nauvoo that was created by Hermann J. Myers in 1855 and was quite possibly copied from the print. Both works reflect an American impulse to visually commemorate westward expansion and settlement.