Rare single sheet French edition of this highly important panoramic aquatint view of Sydney, based upon Major James Taylor's 3 sheet panorama published in London, in 1823.
This remarkable panorama is perhaps the earliest single sheet version of Taylor's panorama of Sydney and a great rarity, recorded in only a single example at the National Library of Australia.
By 1820, Sydney had grown to a population of 12,000, nearly half being convicts. Sydney had seen a remarkable growth during the administration of New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Unlike previous governors Macquarie was not content merely to oversee a penal colony. His vision changed forever the appearance of Sydney while his policy of accepting emancipated convicts as respected citizens was unique.
In 1819, alarmed by Macquarie's extravagant public works, the British Government commissioned a lawyer and civil servant, J.T. Bigge, to investigate. The attacks by his critics were met head on by Macquarrie's supporters in New South Wales and a slew of pamphlets and paintings demonstrated local pride for the governor's achievements.
James Taylor arrived in Sydney in 1817, a captain in the 48th Regiment. He was promoted to Major in 1822 and returned to England early in the same year. Major Taylor's view of Sydney was almost certainly intended as a visual tool in defense of Macquarie's efforts. Taylor's panorama presents an attractive image of the Australian seat of government. Taylor arranged the engraving and printing of his three sheet Panorama, upon his return to England in July, 1822.
Taylor's view is of the utmost rarity as is this single sheet version by Rittner et Goupil. For the Rittner et Goupil, we note only a single extent example at the National Library of Australia. In 1988 the National Library of Australia issued a set of 100 limited edition restrikes of the original set of Taylor views. However, they are essentially unobtainable.
The original set consists of three hand-colored prints, each approximately 19 x 25 inches. On June 3,1824, the Sydney Gazette advertised for sale:
Several Sets of beautifully executed coloured Prints, forming a Panoramic View of Sydney, from Designs by Major Taylor, of the 48th and now exhibiting in London, at Barker's Panorama
The set of three aquatints made by Robert Havell are based on Taylor's drawings and were published in August 1823, by Colnaghi & Co., consisting of:
- Plate 1, "The Entrance of Port Jackson and Part of the Town of Sydney, New South Wales", looks east across Sydney Cove and Port Jackson towards the harbor's entrance at The Heads.
- Plate 2, "The Town of Sydney in New South Wales", looks south from the Macquarie Street ridge to Cockel Bay (Darling Harbor).
- Plate 3, "Part of the Harbour of Port Jackson and the country between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, New South Wales", looks west across Darling Harbor from Pyrmont on the left to Lavender Bay on the far right.
Adolphe Goupil was the founder of an international print publishing firm which expanded into dealing in and exhibiting contemporary art. Established in France, he soon expanded with branches under various managers in other centers. The firm traded under a number of different names at different addresses.
The dating is based upon the entry in the National Library of Australia. The British Library entry for Rittner & Goupil lists an operating date from 1829-1841.