FRASER, James Baillie (1783-1856)
Seran Rajas Palace
London: Rodwell & Martin, 1 March 1820. Hand-coloured aquatint by Robert Havell & Son, after Fraser. Image size (including text): 18 1/8 x 23 1/4inches. Sheet size: 21 x 30 inches.
A fine example of a view taken during the first recorded journey by Europeans through the Himalayas.
In 1815, following the end of the war with Nepal, Fraser and his brother William, a political agent, spent two months on a tour of the Himalayas. Their journey took the brothers along the river valleys of the Himalayas, with occasional sorties to higher latitudes and as far as the sources of both the Jumna and Ganges rivers.
In this view, Fraser depicts the Raja of Sarahan's summer residence, high above the Sutlej River. This is in Himachal Pradesh, India. The raja, Mehendra Singh Teeka, was 8 years old at the time of the Frasers visit. The British had recently restored his kingdom to him, and for a certain specified amount, protected it for him. The raja therefore was happy to meet the visitors and to have his palace depicted.
This view is from the spectacular Views in the Himala Mountains which contains twenty of Havell's masterly plates worked up from sketches made on the spot by Fraser. In style the plates are similar to, and very much a match for Henry Salt's and the Daniell brothers' large scale views published 10 and 20 years earlier. This was a deliberate strategy by the publishers who drew attention to the similarities in their advertisements which describe the work as being `In Elephant Folio, uniform with Daniell's Oriental Scenery , and Salt's Views in Abyssinia ..'
Cf. Abbey Travel II, 498.