HAWAIIAN ISLANDS. CARMICHAEL, F. - WOOD, Carlos C. (1792-1856). An Important Album of Sketches in Hawaii. Ca 1838-1840.
Oblong folio (9 2/8 x 11 6/8 inches). 5 comic sketches by F. Carmichael; 12 exceptionally fine pen and ink drawings of views and portraits in Pitcairn Island and Hawaii, including one which stretches over 2 pages, and one in South America all by the same unknown artist; 6 sketches by Carlos C. Wood, and one watercolour drawing by an unknown artist, several leaves watermarked 'J. Whatman / Turkey Mill / 1837' (some leaves and gatherings loose). Contemporary quarter red roan, ticket of Ackermann's Repository (covers detached).
Provenance: "Jane Ross, H.M.S. President, Valparaiso May 7th 1838", inscription on front pastedown.
AN EXCEPTIONALLY IMPORTANT ALBUM OF SKETCHES IN HAWAII, THE MARQUESAS ISLANDS and PITCAIRN ISLAND, INCLUDING THE SECOND KNOWN, AND FIRST DETAILED PANORAMA OF HONOLULU, THE EARLIEST KNOWN VIEW OF KEALAKEKUA BAY TAKEN FROM KA'AWALOA
- 'View of the Town Harbour of Honolulu, Woahou, Sandwich Islands', depicting from left to right the prominent 'foreign' buildings including Pearce and Brewer's trading house with American flag, the British Consulate, Seamen's Bethel Church, Robinson's shipyard, Honolulu Fort, Oahu Charity School, 2 sketches on facing pages, 170 x 540mm.
- 'View of Karakakoa Bay, Hawaii, where Cook was killed', showing the thatched houses of Chiefess Kapiolani, and the coconut tree stump upon which Captain Bruce of the Imogene affixed a copper plaque in memory of Cook on 17 October 1837, 130 x 260mm.
- 'View of the Volcano of Kiruea [i.e. Kilauea], Island of Hawaii', 150 x 210mm.
- 'New Burial Ground under Banyan tree, school house and flagstaff, Pitcairn's Island, 1837', 160 x 250mm.
- 'Pitcairn's Island, 1837', being a general view from offshore, 140 x 280mm.
- 'The Tattauing on the leg of Tahitianain [sic] wife to the King of Santa Christina Marquesas', 170 x 230mm.
- 'Head of a Marquesian of Resolution Bay', 230 x 170mm.
- 'Head of a Marquesian Boy of Resolution Bay', 230 x 170mm.; all the above by the same hand, in black ink, captioned below in brown ink, the last three with blue and yellow wash
- View of a ruined church probably in Latin-America, by the same hand as the above, black ink
Preceeded by 5 comic sketches of Peruvians, signed or initialled 'F. Carmichael' or 'FC', pencil and watercolour, some captioned below in brown ink and dated at Callao, 1838 and 1839
Followed by 6 sketches of military and naval subject matter in Valparaiso and elsewhere, Chile, signed or initialled by Lt. Col. C.C. Wood, pencil, charcoal, and ink.
THE SECOND EARLIEST PANORAMIC DRAWING OF HONOLULU - a new discovery in an album of Hawaiian views. The first known panorama is in the Bishop Museum - an ink and wash view dated 1834. Of smaller scale and from further out at sea, it gives only a general impression of the shore and lacks the building-by-building detail of the present image (see Forbes, Encounters with Paradise, plate 48).
Two similar panoramas were printed or executed in 1840, and one appears in Edward Belcher's 1843 narrative of the voyage of HMS Sulphur in 1836-42. It was also at this time that the Lahainaluna Seminary Press began to publish engravings, including in 1838 a depiction of Honolulu from inland, after a drawing done by Edward Bailey at the foot of Punchbowl Hill (Forbes, Engraved at Lahainaluna, plate 27).
While the Pacific sketches are unsigned, there is good reason to think the artist was on board HMS Imogene.The Imogene visited Honolulu, the Marquesas Islands, Pitcairn, Valparaiso and Callao between October 1837 and June 1838. In October 1837, Captain Bruce and the crew of the Imogene were at Kealakekua Bay, where they fastened a memorial plaque to the stump of a coconut tree near the site of Cook's death. The view of the Bay in the present album - the earliest known drawing of the Bay from the Ka'awaloa side - clearly shows the stump in question.
The album bears the ownership inscription of a Jane Ross on board HMS President. Commanded by Admiral Ross (not apparently the husband or father of Jane, but likely to be a closely relation), the President certainly came into contact with the Imogene in the summer of 1838 when both ships were docked in South America. This is presumably how the drawings came into the possession of Jane Ross.
The six Chilean sketches can be attributed to Carlos C. Wood (1792-1856), who lived and worked in Chile from 1819 until the final year of his life. a painter, engineer, mariner, and military officer. Wood designed the Coat of arms of Chile, which was adopted by the government in 1834, incorporating the huemul and the condor. He also designed the first stamps of the nascent state. He is considered one of the most influential foreign artists who shaped modern painting in Chile. Rich in detail, he captured the picturesque and colorful landscape of Chile, and his sketch in this album captioned "The March of Intellect in Chile" humorously depicting Jane Ross and her husband in a Barouche from Santiago descending a steep slope, is very similar to a finished watercolour sold at Christie's in 2008 . Wood mainly portrayed boats, historical facts, and naval actions. His best known work is paradoxically his only oil painting, the "Wreck of the Arethusa".
In addition to the sketch of the road to Valparaiso, Wood has contributed a humorous sketch of four soldiers in "Campaign , or marching order, Chile, 1840", a magnificent panorama of the Battle of Yungay on January 20th, 1839 "The Army Advances, and is crowned with Victory!!", when the alliance formed Chilean Army led by Chilean General in Chief Manuel Bulnes and a force of Peruvians opposed to Santa Cruz, decisively defeated the Confederate Army commanded by Santa Cruz, after only six hours of combat in the battlefield of Yungay, in northern Peru; a very dramatic image of ships in a storm; a tranquil coastal scene by moonlight; and a detail of the Battle of Yungay showing the artist and General Bulnes fighting alongside one another.
With gratitude to David W. Forbes, author of Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People, 1778-1941 (1992) and Engraved at Lahainaluna: a History of Printmaking by Hawaiians at the Lahainaluna Seminary, 1834 to 1844 (2012), for his help in cataloguing this album.