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Paintings in Rare Books

I keep saying to myself that I’ll pick up painting again, but I haven’t picked up a brush in a few years now..
Just the other day, I came across a couple of resources in the rare book collection that made me change my mind.
In Watercolor sketches of headlands on the South American coast (ca. 1830), a mystery artist provided several panoramic watercolor paintings. On some pages, we see ships alone on the water but others feature the coastal views of numerous lands. In the image of this Royal Navy vessel below, the caption reads, “HMS Dover anchoring near Rio during a heavy squall”.
In the next image of Harradura Point Coquimbo, we can see how the artist has provided us with some notes so that we may situate ourselves “NE by N”:
In this last image, I’ve zoomed in so you can see the details a little better.

In Watercolor drawings of marine views by Frances Waring (1776-1840), we see another great example of watercolor paintings with a maritime theme.
In this first image, we see a bit of a chaotic scene with a coal brig surrounded by other vessels. Can you believe this page at the following pages are about 8″ x 12″?
I instantly fell in love with this nighttime image of Dover:
And this last one was fun.. The caption reads that this is “near Radipole – near Weymouth Aug 27th 1826”
I did a little searching to see if I could find a photo of the bridge, and this site came close with an image of a bridge in a Weymouth village:
There are so many more images in both of these (and other) rare books that are worth a very long study. A favorite that comes to mind is a study of tropical fishes, but that’s another blog…
If you happen to view all there is to see on paintings in rare books, know that there are also a few logbooks that feature color and monochromatic paintings that were done while at sea! If you have a chance, come on in and be amazed by the detail and know that it’s one of a kind.
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