Probably Dutch. Early Nineteenth century.


Each approximately: Height: 9 1/2" (24.1 cm); Width: 15 3/4" (40 cm).

Ink and watercolor on paper.

The present set of six topographical views are accomplished watercolor renderings of scenes from across the globe, taken from various 18th century collections of engravings that illustrated travels throughout Europe and explorative voyages of distant lands. A caption below each image describes the view; four are in Dutch while two are in French. These vedute also bear leafs of paper with extensive notations in Dutch, and occasionally French, on the reverse describing each location, and appear to have originally belonged to a larger series forming an unusual amateur atlas. “The identity of the artist is unknown, but it seems likely that he was a Dutchman of some means who owned or had access to a collection of the most important accounts of 18th century travel.”

The first scene taken from Captain James Cook’s (1728-1779) voyages depicts the View of Christmas Sound on Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago off the southern tip of Chile and Argentina. The first European to visit the islands was the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520; he named the region for the many campfires of the indigenous Yaghan people he viewed from the sea. In December of 1774 Captain Cook arrived to the islands aboard the HMS Resolution during the return journey of his second voyage of discovery, designed to circumnavigate the southernmost parts of the globe. The crew spent Christmas in a bay on the western side of Tierra del Fuego, which they name Christmas Sound. The original view was executed by William Hodges (figure 1), who accompanied the crew as expedition artist, and whose sketches and paintings were adapted into engravings to be published along with Cook’s journals from the voyage.

The second watercolor taken from Cook’s expeditions depicts A View of Christmas Harbour in Kerguelens Land. The Kerguelens Islands are a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean, first discovered in 1772 by the French navigator Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec. Four years later, Cook visited the archipelago on his third expedition to the pacific, again aboard the HMS Resolution. He landed on the main island on Christmas Day in 1776, thereby naming the site Port Christmas (or Christmas Harbor). The islands boast a variety of flora and fauna, notably a large population of king penguins. The present scene, depicting the harbor as well as the killing of penguins on the coast, was originally drawn by the English artist John Webber, who accompanied Cook on his third pacific expedition, and was later engraved in London around 1785 by Alexander Hogg for “Anderson’s Large Folio Edition of the Whole of Capt. Cook’s Voyages, Etc. Complete” (figure 2).

Research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.