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The Plantain Tree in the Island of Cracatoa.
Boydell, 1809 (1820), London: - A scene on Krakatoa, most notable for its depiction of the lush vegetation on the island. This view was done towards the end of the voyage, when Webber varied his subjects from the standardized depictions that illustrated Cook's 3rd Voyage. "More than ever now Webber recorded the botanical production of the tropics, depicting many markedly different plants in the same view. This new bent may be noted in "The Plantain Tree". and "A Fan Palm". Both drawings are remarkable for the density and plastic handling of the organic forms. These slices of exuberant nature differ from all of Webber's previous work. Particularly in "A Fan Palm" Webber heralds a new approach to landscape, in which no longer an extended view is unrolled and distance measured by natural components such as lakes, hills, rocks and mountains. In closing the background and renouncing open vistas, Webber presents us with a close-up of impenetrable thickness of stems, leaves and branches. Entangled in this luxurious natural growth, the eye confronts little spatial recession, as had been the ruling convention. Proceeding from a new interest in the depiction of exotic plants Webber breaks away from the traditional forms of landscape, in which fore-, middle- and background must play their role. In fact in drawings like "A Fan Palm" the traditional components of the eighteenth- century idea of the picturesque have become obsolete." (Joppein & Smith, "The Art of Captain Cook's Voyages", Yale UP, 1998, vol. 3 text, p150-1). The view was published in John Webber's "Views in the South Seas", which has been called "the most striking publication resulting from Cook's expeditions". (Parsons Collection 136). London. Pubd. April 1, 1809 by Boydell & Compy. No. 90 Cheapside. Vide Cook's Last Voy. Vol. III Ch. 10. Impression mark 318 x 413 mm, on paper 500 x 360 mm. Colored aquatint in very good condition with accompanying letterpress (a sml. marginal nick). The text is drawn from the published account of the voyage. Both are watermarked J. Whatman 1820. Joppien & Smith 3.414b.
      [Bookseller: Antipodean Books, Maps & Prints, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2014-10-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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