FRASER, James Baillie (1783-1856)
Village and Castle of Bumpta
London: Rodwell & Martin, 1820. Colour-printed aquatint with hand finishing by Robert Havell & Son, after Fraser. Skilful marginal repairs. Sheet size: 20 1/4 x 27 7/8 inches.
A fine example of a view taken during the first recorded journey by Europeans through the Himalayas.
The village and fort of Bumpta were situated on a steep hillside. The fort now lay in ruins, having been damaged by an accidental fire. The Rana of Jubbal was building a residence on its foundations. On the way to Bumpta the terrain became very rugged, and Fraser commented in his journal: "I have travelled in the Highlands of Scotland, and have made long marches there without more fatigue than is usually felt, but I must aver that a twelve or thirteen miles stage, such as of this day, has fatigued me more than upwards of three times its distance at home." 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. 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.