Catalog Archive
Auction 144, Lot 287

"A Sea-Lion and Lioness ", Anson, George

Subject: Prints Animal

Period: 1748 (circa)

Publication: A Voyage Round the World

Color: Black & White

16 x 9.5 inches
40.6 x 24.1 cm
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This striking engraving of two sea lions on the shore of Juan Fernandes Island in the South Pacific Ocean was sketched either by Commodore George Anson or one of the crew from his ship, the Centurion. When the early navigators and explorers came back to London after their voyages, they brought back sketches of the natives, animals and plants seen during their stop-overs on the islands and coasts of the newly explored regions of the world. The sketches tended to be fanciful and represented a sailor's impression of an unknown and never before seen animal, such as these sea lions on the beach. This engraving appeared in Anson's account of his circumnavigation, compiled by Richard Walter and Benjamin Robbins, and first published in 1748.

In 1740 Anson set sail in command of a squadron sent to attack Spanish possessions and interests in South America. The expedition was ill-equipped and failed to carry out its original ambitious mission. By June 1741 when Anson reached Juan Fernandes, his force had been reduced to only three of the original six ships, while the strength of his crews had fallen from 961 to 335. After recuperating on the island, he collected the remaining survivors on his flagship, the Centurion, and set sail in search of one of the richly laden galleons that conducted the trade between Mexico and the Philippines. The indomitable perseverance he had shown during one of the most arduous voyages in the history of sea adventure gained the reward of the capture of an immensely rich prize, the Nuestra Senora de Cabadonga, which he encountered off Cape Espiritu Santo on June 20, 1743.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) G.ANS-1a.

Condition: B+

A fine impression on watermarked paper with a hint of toning along centerfold, a tiny tear near center that has been closed on verso with archival tape, and light discoloration in bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $100 - $140

Sold for: $75

Closed on 4/3/2013