C1822
 (24)

‘This View from the Government Hill is respectfully dedicated to the Honble William Edward Phillips Esqr Governor of Prince of Wale’s Island the Principal Establishment of the Honble East India Company on the Malay Coast.’

Artist:

Captain Robert James Elliot (1790 - 1849)

The earliest and rarest of all early lithographs of Singapore. The artist, Captain Robert James Elliot (1790-1849), was the nephew of Sir Gilbert Elliot, the First Earl of Minto and Governor-General of India from 1807 to 1813, Robert Elliot served … Read Full Description

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S/N: ASI-SING-001–183292
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Details

Full Title:

‘This View from the Government Hill is respectfully dedicated to the Honble William Edward Phillips Esqr Governor of Prince of Wale’s Island the Principal Establishment of the Honble East India Company on the Malay Coast.’

Date:

C1822
 (24)

Artist:

Captain Robert James Elliot (1790 - 1849)

Condition:

Trimmed to image, loss of top right corner, soiling, otherwise a strong impression.

Technique:

Lithograph.

Image Size: 

500mm 
x 250mm

Frame Size: 

780mm 
x 540mm
AUTHENTICITY
'This View from the Government Hill is respectfully dedicated to the Honble William Edward Phillips Esqr Governor of Prince of Wale's Island the Principal Establishment of the Honble East India Company on the Malay Coast.' - Antique Print from 1822

Genuine antique
dated:

24

Description:

The earliest and rarest of all early lithographs of Singapore. The artist, Captain Robert James Elliot (1790-1849), was the nephew of Sir Gilbert Elliot, the First Earl of Minto and Governor-General of India from 1807 to 1813, Robert Elliot served in the navy in 1814 and subsequently travelled to South America, the Pacific and Australia. The view looks seaward with the Singapore River at centre, Chinatown to the right and Telok Ayer Basin lies directly behind Chinatown. It shows part of the first bridge over the Singapore River that had begun in May 1821 but completion was delayed. Raffles mentions the bridge in a letter date February 1823 to Wallich, stating &quot…the bridge too is in great fordwardness and in two months more, the whole plan for that side of the Water will be so far proceeded that my successor cannot help follow it up.&quot Two versions of this lithograph exist with the only difference between the two images being the treatment of the foremost tree at far left. In our version there is a palm tree depicted whereas in the other version, the upper part of the palm has been removed and replaced with a similar style of tree to the ones shown on the right. The inscriptions and dedications above and below the print also vary slightly. On close examination of the two versions we have concluded this is the earlier of the two. In our version there are no visible traces of reworking of the stone around or within the palm tree or it’s fronds, whereas in the other version, faint traces of the two lowest palm leaves situated between the trunks and of the one at lower right are visible. In all other respects the images are identical and obviously printed from the same stone. Our lithograph, was contained in a ‘collectors’ album of late C18th to C19th engravings and lithographs which included a number of examples of ‘proofs before letters’, all with strong impressions. The inclusion of proof plates in the album indicates that it would have certainly belonged to a print collector whose focus was on acquiring early and fine impressions of contemporary prints that publishers sometimes offered, without alteration and prior to publication and sale to the general public. We have been unable to locate an another example of this version offered for sale. The original dedication below the image which has been trimmed off read ‘This Flourishing Settlement was formed in 1818 under the auspices of Col. Wm Farquhar many years Resident and Governor of Malacca, equally esteemed for his Hospitality and Talents, as his Knowledge and Attention to the Natives, and so much respected by them, that, in the course of a few Years, a little Village containing only a few mean huts surrounded by an uninhabited Jungle, through his exertions and those of his followers from Malacca, has become a large and populous Town of the utmost Importance to British and Foreign Commerce.’ Farquhar is referred as ‘Col’ in the above dedication, he had reached the rank of Lt. Col. on 9 May 1821 and a then full Colonel in 1826. W.E.Phillips (mentioned in the title) acted as governor of Prince of Wale’s Island for the seventh time during the latter part of 1819, and was confirmed as governor early in 1820, and by 1825 had retired (prior to Farqhuar becoming a full Colonel). Therefore the lithograph was made based on information that had occurred after May 1821 when Farquhar had made Lt.Col and most probably prior to February 1823 when Raffles mentions the advance building of the bridge in his letter to Wallich. References Bastin, The Journal of Thomas Otho Travers 1813-1820. Published Raffles Museum 1960. pp.224-225, Ill.143 National Museum Nineteenth Century Prints of Singapore 1987 Ill. pl 1, p.74, Pl 1. (Later version) Wong, Singapore through 19th Century Prints &amp Paintings 2010 p.89, ill. p89 (Later version)

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