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Extremely Rare Early Aquatint View of Montevideo, Uruguay

Fine 1808-published view of Montevideo, showing the city from the East. This magnificent, broody view of the city shows it limited by its walls and overlooked by the Cerro de Montevideo in the distance, with a beacon on top (before the construction of the Fortaleza del Cerro).

The image shows the buildings of Montevideo in nice detail, with several forts and churches standing out. Large flags fly above the fortresses in the view. Many ships can be seen in the harbor behind the city.

This image was published shortly after the British occupation of the city in 1807, during the Battle of Montevideo. Part of the Napoleonic Wars, it formed part of the British invasion of the Rio de la Plata. After a short battle, British troops occupied the city before being withdrawn following the British surrender in Buenos Aires. The view was almost certainly published in light of these events.

Publication History

The only reference that we find to this work is in an appendix to the Catalogue Raisonee of prints of British military operations, where a view is titled "A view of the Town, Citadel, and Mount of Monte Video in the Rio de la Plata taken during the late Siege. . ."  and described as published in London August 18th, 1808 by D. Robertson. We hypothesize that two states of this map exist, with this being the second. A comma located after the "Rio de la Plata" supports this hypothesis. There may be remnants of this first state in the figures to the right of the city, which appear to be standing by offensive fortifications.


We find no listings in OCLC for this work in either state. Views of Montevideo are rare.

Condition Description
Original hand-colored aquatint etching on 19th-century wove paper. Tear in lower part of view (touching the title) repaired on verso. Minor crease in lower left. Small reinstatement of paper in left margin, minor reinforcement to back of paper elsewhere.