This is an original drawing by George Hutchins Bellasis circa 1815. It is a unique work and hand-coloured aquatint engravings by Robert Havell. Generally, it is in a very good condition except for some overall soiling, a 5/8” tear and several damaged along the edge of the left margin. Tape on verso is also slightly visible in corners of the sheet.
The drawings describe the fine view of the “country residence of the Governor, located in the most fertile and beautiful part of the island of St. Helena. The grounds are laid out with great taste; a variety of oriental plants and shrubs grow intermixed with those of the more northern regions: the magnolia, mimosa, myrtles thirty feet high, bamboo, gum tree, and cabbage tree, with the laurel, yew, cypress, fir, and oak; and also aloes in successive blossom.” (Bellasis)
The island reached the apex of its prominence and grandeur with the arrival of an exiled Napoleon in October of 1815. Napoleon lived at Longwood, an estate just outside Jamestown, until his death in May 1821. During that time, Bellasis sketched the present view of St. Helena which was well thought-out a most important link in the chain of safe harbours needed for fitting out ships on the busy trade route to India. In addition to its strategic geographic location, the place was also valued for its abundant vegetation, plentiful fruit trees, and the natural beauty of its hilly and diverse terrain.
An introduction to Views of St. Helena by Bellasis states, “Clear and wholesome springs issue from the sides of almost every hill, and the valleys abound with yams, potatoes, and water-cresses, which are grateful to mariners; and here it is worthy of remark, that four crops may be produced in the year, the climate being a perpetual spring…”
Size: Image size: 10 3/4 x 13 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 12 5/8 x 17 1/2 inches.