"A VIEW OF THE MOUNTAINS WHICH ARE EXTREMELY WILD IN THEIR FORMS": MAGNIFICENT HAND-COLORED AQUATINT OF THE ABYSSINIAN COUNTRYSIDE, FROM HENRY SALT’S ELEPHANT FOLIO VIEWS IN ABYSSINIA, 1809
SALT, Henry. View Near the Village of Asceriah, in Abyssinia. FROM: Twenty Four Views Taken in St. Helena, the Cape, India, Ceylon, Abyssinia & Egypt. London: William Miller, 1809. Original hand-colored aquatint, plate measures 25-1/2 by 18-3/4 inches; sheet measures 29 by 21 inches. Handsomely matted and framed, entire piece measures 32-1/2 by 26-1/2 inches. $3200.
Splendid, large, hand-colored aquatint of the picturesque mountainous Abyssinian countryside, Plate XVII from Salt’s folio views of India, Egypt, Ceylon, Abyssinia, the Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helena. Engraved by Daniel Havell.
In June 1802, Viscount Valentia (George Annesley) left England on the Minerva, for a Grand Tour of the East and "the first British mission to Abyssinia… to conclude an alliance to obtain a port in the Red Sea in case France, under Napoleon, should seize Egypt" (Abbey 515). As his official artist and secretary for the tour, Valentia appointed artist Henry Salt, who had recently finished his training with the topographical draughtsman and diarist, Joseph Farington. This wonderful plate by Salt captures the picturesque hilly countryside in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) near the village of Asceriah. On August 15, 1805, approaching this area, Valentia wrote "we made our way through a grove of wild olive trees, and afterwards along the edge of a tremendous precipice, looking directly down into a gulley, in which were small pools of water, but no running stream. We then descended, and passed along the bed of the torrent for some distance; a shower of rain overtook us, but it was over before we had ascended the hill on which stands the village of Asceriah… I took here a view of the mountains which are extremely wild in their forms." Salt eventually became British Consul-General in Egypt, where he died at the age of 47. The engraver, Daniel Havell, was a member of the renowned English family firm of artists and engravers, which included Robert and William, "publishers of topographical and architectural works distinguished by a delicacy of line" (Grove). See Abbey, Travel 515 (plate 16); Tooley 440.
A few tiny spots, minor marginal offsetting and paper stub attached to verso from previous matting. A near-fine print.