- Museum number
'The Grotto of Camoens, at Macao'; a pagoda-type structure on top of a rocky cave with mountains and a body of water in the distance on the right; from an album of 82 drawings of China
Watercolour, ink and graphite
- Production date
Height: 443 millimetres (album cover)
Height: 233 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 184 millimetres
Width: 334 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- There is a list of descriptions of the subjects inserted in the front of the album. This drawing is described as: "48 The Grotto, where the Portuguese Poet Camoens, wrote his Poem the Lusiad, Vide Sir G: Stauntons Acc.t Page 589. Vol 2.d."
Alexander's reference here is to the Portuguese poet Luiz de Camoes (1524-80) who is thought to have spent close to twenty years in the East, and who authored the epic poem 'Os Lusíadas' (1572) which describes Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India.
The illustration of the grotto in Staunton's "Account" is unsigned and depicts it from a different angle from that in this drawing. Staunton tells his reader that the column supporting the cave is an unnecessary modern intervention. It is interesting that there is a small figure on the left of this drawing who appears, by what can be seen of his costume, to be European. A more developed figure of this type also appears in the foreground of the illustration in Staunton's "Account", where he is sat, legs crossed, with what appears to be paper on his lap; he could be reading, writing or sketching. In two other drawings of the same subject (India Office Library, BL and, in 1980, at the Martyn Gregory Gallery) , though different compositions again to both the BM watercolour and that in Staunton's "Account", Legouix identifies a male figure as Alexander himself, stating that it was "a frequent practice of Alexander's to depict himself in a picture." (Legouix, 1980, pp. 78-79).
For further information about the album, see comment for 1865,0520.193.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1992-3 Oct-Mar, BM, Britain's First View/China (ff.1,5,25,37,74; no cat.)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number