RUGENDAS, Maurice. HABITANTE DE GOYAS. Quadro a óleo pintado sobre madeira.
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MERCER. (Douglas) (LATER DOUGLAS MERCER-HENDERSON). WATERCOLOUR ALBUM BY...
Circa 1811. 22,5 x 11,5 cm.
Watercolours size: 22x11 cm.
Full leather binding packed on a later synthetic skin protection case, with a portrait of the author at the centre front board (replica from the one at the National Portrait Gallery in London) and with his name and date in gilt letters under it.
An historically important album, containing 39 watercolours and 21 drawings, some partially coloured, depicting views of Portugal as well as typical Portuguese figures and animals, done by the British Army Officer Major Douglas Mercer, probably during a reconnaissance journey in the period he was ADC to Major General Dilkes or actually during the retreat of the French Army (March 1811) when Major Mercer is reported to have been wounded twice, at Barrosa and Sobral.
A curious detail is that a rough map of the area surrounding the city of Guarda is outlined, somewhat hidden in one of the drawings, this having been the area where the French Army under the command of General Massena, during the Third Invasion of Portugal, finally retreated. It is also to be highlighted that, although the album might be taken as the work of a talented and interested visitor, all the views shown bear obvious military and topographical interest, relating to the crossing of rivers, hilly areas or fortified towns.
As stated in his obituary, Major, later Lieu-General Mercer, was a highly distinguished officer but also an undoubtedly talented artist. He fought bravely at Waterloo, commanding the 2nd Battalion. A portrait of him is in exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
In 1852, he inherited Fordell Castle, Fife, Scotland, after his elder brother Robert was deceased. By royal licence dated 14 January 1853, Mercer and his descendants were authorised to take the surname of Henderson in addition to and after that of Mercer, and to bear the arms of Henderson together with those of Mercer.
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