History Archive > Picturesque Buenos Ayres & Monte Video (1820)

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Picturesque illustrations of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video, consisting of twenty-four views : accompanied with descriptions of the scenery and of the costumes, manners, &c. of the inhabitants of those cities and their environs


Date: 1820




Emeric Essex Vidal (ca. 1788-1861), born into a naval family, joined the Navy in 1808 and spent much of his career as a purser. He was stationed in 1820-1821 at St. Helena as secretary to Admiral Lambert on H.M.S. Vigo. Vidal was a distinguished painter and many of his fine drawings (like those of his brother Alexander) were adapted for the engraved vignettes on early issues of certain British Admiralty charts.

English interest in South America flourished after the capture of Buenos Aires by Commodore Beresford in 1806. Ackermann exploited the widespread and substantial interest in South American affairs that this event aroused, through a number of publications, including these views. Vidal was paymaster on the British Navy and was one of the most important travelling artists working in pre and post-independence South America.

The book was issued in six monthly parts, seven hundred and fifty copies on elephant paper, and fifty on atlas. The twenty-four aquatints, all after drawings by Vidal, four of them being large folded plates, are engraved by G. Maile, J. Bluck, T. Sutherland, and D. Havell and possess a subtle charm of their own apart from their historical and geographical value (Martin Hardie).

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The only notable colour plate book in English dealing with the Argentine (Tooley), this being one of only fifty copies issued on large paper. Vidal (c.1788-1861) joined the navy in 1808, two years after the capture of Buenos Aires by Sir Home Popham and Colonel Beresford, serving much of his career as a purser. Not an uncommon book, but owing to the importance of its subject and the fact of its being the only notable colour plate book in English dealing with the Argentine, it always commands a high price" (Tooley).

Plate List

  • 1. Frontispiece. General View of Buenos Ayres from the Plaza de Toro.
  • 2. Landing Place.
  • 3. Fort.
  • 4. Water Cart.
  • 5. Market Place of Buenos Ayres.
  • 6. The Plaza.
  • 7. Milk Boys.
  • 8. South Matadero, (Public Butchery).
  • 9. Fishing.
  • 10. Church of San Domingo.
  • 11. Beggars on Horseback.
  • 12. Pampa Indians.
  • 13. Shipping Hides at the Custom House.
  • 14. Monte Video. From the Anchorage outside the Harbour / Buenos Ayres. From the Bank between the Outer and Inner Roads.
  • 15. A Country Public House & Travellers.
  • 16. Estantia (Farm) on the River San Pedro.
  • 17. Balling Ostriches.
  • 18. Gauchos (Rustics) of Tucuman.
  • 19. Convoy of Wine Mules.
  • 20. Travelling Waggon in a Pontano (Morass).
  • 21. Travelling Post. (folding plate)
  • 22. Paolistas, Soldiers of the East bank of the Plata.
  • 23. A Quinta (Farm).
  • 24. A Horse Race. (folding plate)


Abbey Travel II, 698;. Colas II 3000. Hiler, p. 878. Brunet V:1182/83. Thomson 31; Martin Hardie, pp. 107 and 312. Prideaux, pp. 355 and 375. Sabin 99460. Tooley 495. Bobins I 31.

Publication Information

Publisher: London : Published by R. Ackermann, 101, Strand



Pages: 204


Getty Research Institute

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-01-10

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