SALT, HENRY (1780-1827)
The Pyramids at Cairo
London: William Miller, 1809. Hand-colored aquatint by Daniel Havell. Sheet: 21 1/4 x 29 inches. Mild bubbling in places.
This view of Cairo from a hilltop near the Citadel, shows Old Cairo with its walls, domed buildings and minarets. Across the Nile, in the hazy distance, are the pyramids of Giza. Heny Salt later returned to Cairo as consul-general for the British.
Henry Salt, artist, traveller, diplomat and collector of antiquities, was born at Lichfield, Staffordshire, England 14 June 1780. He was destined to be a portrait-painter, and on leaving school was taught drawing by Glover, the watercolour-painter of Lichfield. In 1797 he went to London and became a pupil of Joseph Farington, R.A., and (in 1800) of John Hoppner, R.A. The turning point in his career was 3 June 1802, when Salt left London for an eastern tour with George, viscount Valentia (afterwards Lord Mountnorris), whom he accompanied as secretary and draughtsman. He visited the Cape, India, Sri Lanka, and (in 1805) Abyssinia, returning to England on 26 Oct. 1806. He made many drawings, some of which served to illustrate Lord Valentia's Voyages and Travels to India, published in 1809.
The present image is from a work titled Twenty-four Views in St. Helena, the Cape, India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia and Egypt , published by William Miller, with hand-coloured aquatints by D. Havell and J. Bluck from Salt's own drawings. The originals of all these drawings were retained by Lord Valentia, who also retained the ownership of the copper plates after Salt's death. The format and style of presentation of the plates is similar to Thomas and William Daniell's great work, Oriental Scenery (1795-1808), and displays great artistry by both Salt and his engravers.