JOHANN CHRISTOPH LUDWIG ALBERTI (1768-1812)
Otto, Baron de Howen (fl.1808-1834) and Jacob Smies (1764-1833), artists. [Zuid-Afrikaansche Gezeichten.] Amsterdam: E.Maaskamp, . Broadsheet (57.8 x 45.2cm). Mounted on guards throughout. 1p. letterpress description of the plates with drophead title above. 4 fine hand-coloured aquatint plates by L.Portman after Howen and Smies, printed by E.Maaskamp. (Light spotting to text leaf.) 20th-century half vellum. Provenance: F.C.Koch, Rotterdam (bookplate).
A FINE AND VERY RARE SET OF THE "ALBERTI PRINTS" originally intended as an accompaniment to his De Kaffers aan de Zuidkust van Afrika (Amsterdam: Maaskamp, 1810, 8°). Alberti "accompanied General J.W.Janssens when he preceded to the Cape as Governor of the Colony under the Batavian Republic, in 1802. He was a captain in the Fifth Battalion of the "Corps de Waldeck," and in the following spring was sent to Fort Frederick in Algoa Bay, where he took the direction of affairs relating to the Kaffirs and Hottentots, and acted as landrost" (Mendelssohn I,p.18).
The original drawings were apparently made on the spot by Baron de Howen, worked up by Smies in Amsterdam and then engraved and aquatinted by Portman. Otto, Baron de Howen was a Russian-born artillery officer, while Jacob Smies, known chiefly as a caricaturist, was clearly employed here to give a professional polish to a gifted amateur's work. Kennedy A18-21; Mendelssohn I,pp.17-18.