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Description

A Rare 18th-Century View of the St. Lawrence.

The view shows a number of sailing ships at sea with Pierce Island in the distance, with its two arches piercing it at the base. This is the earliest known image of Pierced Island in the St. Lawrence River, sketched in 1760 while James Cook was there serving on the H.M.S. Pembroke. It includes the H.M.S. Vanguard, a ship of the Line, under the command of Captain Robert Swanton. 

Captain Hervey Smyth was an aide de camp to General James Wolfe. His views were separately published in London in 1760 by Thomas Jefferys, and later published in Scenographia Americana (London: 1768). 

This is one of a series of six views of remarkable places in the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence. Smyth's drawings were drawn on the spot and juxtaposed the British forces against dramatic Canadian landscapes.  The complete set includes:

  • A View of the City of Quebec, the Capital of Canada. Taken partly from Pointe des Peres, and partly on board the Vanguard Man of War.
  • A View of the Fall of Montmorenci and the Attack made by General Wolfe.
  • A View of Cape Rouge or Carouge, Nine Miles above the City of Quebec.
  • A View of Gaspe Bay, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • A View of Miramichi, a French Settlement in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • A View of the Pierced Island, a remarkable Rock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Pierced Rock

Percé Rock is a huge sheer rock formation in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada, off Percé Bay. Percé Rock appears from a distance like a ship under sail.

It is one of the world's largest natural arches located in water and is considered a geologically and historically rich natural icon of Quebec. 

Rarity

This is the second time we have had this view, and the first time we have had this state.

The American Art Association offered a complete set of the six views for sale on February 14, 1928 (Lot 86), in The Notable Library formed by the late Col. Rhinelander Waldo of New York City.  Another set was offered by Maggs in 1915 (Catalog 334-859) for the princely sum of 52.10 GBP.

Condition Description
Minor abrasions repaired, especially in the upper-left sky.