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[BRAMBILA, Fernando]. [Malaspina Expedition] Vista de una Galeria natural de cien pies de largo y diez de ancho, en la inmediacion del Puerto del Decanso, en el Estrecho de Juan de Fuca. [View of a Natural Gallery of one Hundred feet long and ten wide, in the Proximity of the Port of Decanso [Gabriola Island B.C.], in the Strait of Juan de Fuca; Artist Proof Plate Meant for a Seven Volume Work Which was Suppressed and Remained Unpublished].
[Madrid?], [1798?]. Ca. 26x49 cm (10.5 x 19 ½ in) A near fine wide margined aquatint.
Extremely Rare artist's proof aquatint produced for a work which was never published. Worldcat only locates one copy of this print. This aquatint show the natural gallery on Gabriola Island. The artist of this aquatint, Brambila, joined as a painter the scientific expedition of Alejandro Malaspina (1789-1794), which explored and mapped much of the west coast of the Americas from Cape Horn to the Gulf of Alaska. Brambila painted several landscapes of Guam, the Philippines, Australia (Sydney), Macao, Peru, Chile and Argentina and the Pacific Northwest. After returning to Spain, he worked on producing prints based on his paintings and drawings made on the voyage, in preparation for the publication of the account of the Malaspina Expedition. Unfortunately, Malaspina's political judgment lead him to take part in a failed conspiracy to overthrow Spain's Prime Minister Godoy, and he was arrested on charges of plotting against the state. After an inconclusive trial on April 20, 1796, Charles IV decreed that Malaspina be stripped of rank and imprisoned in the isolated fortress of San Antón in La Coruña, Galicia (Spain), where he remained from 1796 to 1802.
As a result, his seven-volume account of the Expedition was suppressed and remained unpublished until the late 19th century. Thus, this aquatint is a very rare contemporary pictorial survivor of the expedition. Hakluyt Society, The Malaspina Expedition; Howgego M26; Humphrey, Malaspina's Lost Gallery; Wikipedia.