Sandy Bay Valley in the Island of St. Helena shows a barefoot family of three following a path along a ridge overlooking a scenic valley surrounded by steep mountains and a bay in the distance. Accompanied by a dog, the adults carry buckets and a bundle, while their son leads a goat by a rope. Tropical plants and palm trees dot the hillside. St. Helena Island is one of the most isolated places in the world, a small, volcanic island off the coast of West Africa, over 1,300 miles from Luanda, the coastal capital of Angola. It was uninhabited until the British established a colony there in the mid 17th century.
The Vale of Calaat shows Chetzin Calat in the Tigray region of present-day Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia). Three tribal men carrying spears stand on a small, elevated plateau which overlooks a desert valley framed by towering rock formations in the middle distance.
These images were published as part of a collection of 24 travel views of the Middle East, Africa and Asia after Henry Salt, with engravings by Daniel Havell, J. Hill and J. Buck under the supervision of Robert Havell. The collection was marketed at the time as comparable to Thomas and William Daniell’s earlier set of views, Oriental Scenery (1795-1808).
Henry Salt was an English painter, draftsman, antiquary and diplomat. He studied portrait painting with Joseph Farinton and John Hoppner. Between 1802 and 1806, Salt traveled extensively in what the English considered “the East,” visiting the locales that would later be pictured in the work he is best known for, a portfolio of aquatints titled Twenty-four Views in St. Helena, the Cape, India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Egypt (1809). Salt’s main legacy is his contribution to Egyptology. After being appointed British Consul-General of Egypt in 1815, he financed archaeological excavations at important Egyptian sites, conducted his own research, and collected thousands of antiquities, many of which were sold to the British Museum and the Louvre. He died in Egypt in 1827.
Daniel Havell, a member of a British family of artists, was an engraver and publisher of topographical and architectural works. His engravings are distinguished by a delicacy of line.
Full publication information, Sandy Bay Valley: Sandy Bay Valley in the Island of St. Helena. Drawn by Henry Salt. Engraved by D. Havell. No. I. Published as the Act directs, by William Miller, Albemarle Street, May 1st, 1809.
Full publication information, The Vale of Calaat: The Vale of Calaat. Drawn by Henry Salt. Engraved by D. Havell. No. XXII. London, Published by William Miller, Albemarle Street, May 1st, 1809.
Condition: Generally good condition with the usual light toning, wear, handling. The Vale of Calaat with toning in margin from former matting which can be rematted out.
“Havell.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/03/0369/T036953.asp (6 May 2002).
“Henry Salt (Egyptologist).” Wikipedia. 21 June 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Salt_(Egyptologist) (4 October 2013).
“Sale 2362. Lot 211.” Christie’s. 29 September 2011. http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/books-manuscripts/salt-henry-twenty-four-views-taken-5480241-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5480241&sid=a18d50cd-edde-4f20-94ea-39242ba82676 (4 October 2013).