Point Nago Spirito Santo. BEAGLE, Robert FITZROY, attributed to.
Point Nago Spirito Santo

Point Nago Spirito Santo

South America: 7 January 1832.

Original watercolour, 85 x 390mm., inscribed "Point Naga S.65.W. H.M.S Beagle Jan 7 1832" lower left; "Spirito Santo 3.20 distant 5 miles" lower centre; on verso inscribed "Fanny 1836"; backed on tissue and mounted.

Original panorama from the Beagle voyage

This superb coastal profile is thought to be in the hand of Robert Fitzroy, commander of HMS Beagle. The image is dated 7 January 1832, on which day the Beagle, just 10 days out of Plymouth on what would become one of the most famous expeditions in English maritime history, was off Point Naga heading towards Santa Cruz in the Canary Islands. On 6 and 7 January Fitzroy made diary entries (pp. 20-21) that 'We are now a few miles, tacking with a light wind to Santa Cruz… Point Naga, which we are doubling, is a rugged uninhabited mass of lofty rock with a most remarkably bold & varied outline. In drawing it you could not make a line straight. Everything has a beautiful appearance: the colours are so rich and soft…'.

This superb coastal profile is thought to be in the hand of Robert Fitzroy, commander of HMS Beagle. The image is dated 7 January 1832, on which day the Beagle, just 10 days out of Plymouth on what would become one of the most famous expeditions in English maritime history, was off Point Naga heading towards Santa Cruz in the Canary Islands. On 6 and 7 January Fitzroy made diary entries (pp. 20-21) that 'We are now a few miles, tacking with a light wind to Santa Cruz… Point Naga, which we are doubling, is a rugged uninhabited mass of lofty rock with a most remarkably bold & varied outline. In drawing it you could not make a line straight. Everything has a beautiful appearance: the colours are so rich and soft…'.
Unfortunately for the Beagle's crew, within half a mile of Santa Cruz the consul delivered an order that the ship must undergo rigorous quarantine for 12 days because reports had reached the Health Office of cholera in England. Reluctantly, an alternate course towards the Cape Verde Islands was decided upon causing 'great disappointment to Mr. Darwin who had cherished a hope of visiting the Peak. To see it -to anchor and be on the point of landing, yet to be obliged to turn away without the slightest prospect of beholding Teneriffe again - was indeed to him a real calamity…'.
Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865) gained wide recognition as the captain of HMS Beagle during this monumental voyage. A highly respected meteorologist and surveyor, he had already sailed on the first Beagle voyage under Captains Stokes and Phillip Parker King but it was on this second voyage of five years duration that Fitzroy established his professional reputation and forged a close friendship with Charles Darwin.
In 1837 Fitzroy was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and in 1839 he published his account of the voyage: the four-volume Narrative of the surveying voyages of H.M.S. Adventure and Beagle included Darwin's Journal and Remarks, 1832-1836 as the third volume. Later in his career Fitzroy served as governor of New Zealand (1843-45). Although this atmospheric coastal profile is unsigned, supporting evidence suggests that it is in his hand and the inscription on the verso of this watercolour ("Fanny 1836") very probably refers to Fanny Fitzroy, the second of his four daughters.

Price (AUD): $16,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4306469