Original landscape study titled 'Banda - The Spice Islands'. J. H. J. CORDNER.

Original landscape study titled 'Banda - The Spice Islands'.

Lisbon: 1841.

Pencil drawing measuring 204 x 260 mm. (sheet size), well preserved, mounted.

Lucrative Spice Island possession

Original mid-nineteenth century sketch of Banda, the fabulously lucrative and contested Spice island in present day Indonesia.

Original mid-nineteenth century sketch of Banda, the fabulously lucrative and contested Spice island in present day Indonesia.

Once the primary source of nutmeg and mace, the Banda islands were a prized Dutch possession until captured by four Royal Navy vessels in 1810. This drawing details the main settlement of Bandanaira island, with part of the original Dutch fort visible on the foreshore. This fort was constructed by the VOC in 1611 to protect the Dutch spice monopoly in the region, and remains the largest structure on the island to the present day. The drawing also illustrates the active volcano Gunung Api rising some 650 meters above sea level. Three native praus and a two-masted junk are clearly discernible in the Bay.

Firm attribution of the artist is difficult. Below the graphite image is inscribed in a faint cursive hand 'Banda – The Spice Island J.H.J. Cordner, October 18th 1841 Lisbon', this is followed by another notation in a different hand 'Derramore May 9 1859 for J.H.S. Fre…' [remainder illegible].

Whether Cordner was the artist or the owner of the sketch remains ambiguous. The name is absent from the standard British naval references, including O'Byrne's Naval Biographical Dictionary or Clowe's Royal Navy. Likewise, the name Cordner does not appear in texts relating to the capture of Banda by the British. However, Walford's County Families of the United Kingdom (1860) does list, without individual names, the Cordner family of Derramore in Ireland.

Notwithstanding the identity of the artist, this sketch is noteworthy for its detail and meticulous execution. The capture of Banda by the British in 1810 is indicative of the shift in power between the two great trading nations.

Price (AUD): $1,150.00  other currencies     Ref: #3904137