James Baillie Fraser was a Scottish artist, author and diplomat. He was apprenticed to merchants in the West Indies in 1799 and moved to Berbice, Guyana, to run a family estate there in 1811. He sailed for Kolkata, India, in 1813, planning to earn money as a trader to pay off family debts, but after his business failed, he joined his brother William, who was working for the British forces in Delhi. The brothers undertook a journey through the Himalayas with a native escort in 1815, becoming the first European party to travel to the source of the Jumla and Ganges Rivers. Fraser sketched the scenery, which he published in England in 1820 as a collection of 20 aquatint plates, Views in the Himala Mountains. In 1820 he also published an accompanying written account, Journal of a Tour through Part of the Snowy Range of the Himala Mountains and to the sources of the rivers Jumla and Ganges. The aquatints followed the format and style of the popular series of prints of India by Thomas and William Daniell, collectively known as Oriental Scenery (1795-1807) and were intended to appeal to the same audience. Fraser next traveled in India and Persia from 1820 to 1823, subsequently publishing several travel narratives and historical novels set in these locales from the 1820s to the 1840s. In the 1830s, he also worked for the British Foreign Office in Persia.
Robert Havell & Sons was a London firm known for aquatint engraving. Robert Havell, Sr. (1769-1832) established his printing business in the early 19th century and later was joined by his son Robert Havell, Jr. (1793-1878), who was the principal engraver of Audubon’s Birds of America. Daniel Havell (1785-1822) was another relative and prominent engraver who worked with Robert, Sr. including on Twenty Four Views Taken in St. Helena (1809-10) after Henry Salt; he left their partnership soon thereafter to work independently.
Rodwell & Martin were print publishers based in London from 1819-1835.
Full publication information:”Drawn by J.B. Fraser. Published as the Act directs by Mess’rs Rodwell & Martin, Bond Street, March 1, 1820.”
Condition: Generally fine overall, the original colors fresh and bright, with light overall wear and handling. Now in a custom wood frame with French mat.
Abbey, J.R. Travel in Aquatint and Lithograph 1770-1860. A.W. Fine Arts, 1991 (reprint of 1957 edition). 498.
“Fraser, James Baillie (1783-1856) Views in the Himala Mountains.” Christie’s. 8 December 1998. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-fraser-james-baillie-1783-1856-views-in-the-1402359/ (25 December 2020).
“Havell family.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havell_family (25 December 2020).
“James Baillie Fraser.” Legacies of British Slave-ownership database, University College, London. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146633105 (25 December 2020).
“Rodwell & Martin.” British Museum. https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG43973 (25 December 2020).
“Temple of Mangee.” British Library Online Gallery. 26 March 2009. http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/other/019xzz000000502u00015000.html (25 December 2020).