Pulled from the original steel and copper plates, engraved in Paris between 1836 and 1843 under Karl Bodmer's direction, after the artist's own watercolours drawn from nature during the journey.
The engravings are hand-printed in colours, à la poupée, with extensive hand-colouring and some application of gum arabic, in the nineteenth-century manner.
Engraved by Lucas Weber
Printed by Bougeard
New Harmony, Indiana, comprised a thriving settlement of approximately 600 inhabitants when Prince Maximilian arrived there in the fall of 1832. He subsequently described it as "a relatively advanced cultural community," whose population, in addition to its scientific luminaries, was composed mainly of "farmers, landowners, and owners of plantations."
Referring to local industry, he mentioned a sawmill, two distilleries, a brewery, and a cigar factory, and remarked in his journal that "large quantities of whisky, pork, beef in barrels, ... and Indian corn are shipped from here on flatboats to New Orleans...." He was more critical in his further observations concerning the activities of the settlers on the American frontier when he commented that "by way of settlement we may preserve here in America neither the aborigines nor the wild beasts, because the beginning of settlement is always the destruction of everything."
Among the numerous studies Bodmer made in this vicinity were several views of New Harmony, itself, on the 23rd and again on the 30th of October, according to Maximilian's careful account, One of these later was featured in the atlas of aquatints published in Europe. Bodmer's portrait of New Harmony's resident naturalist, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, also was reproduced in an engraving, an example of which is preserved in the Joslyn collection in Omaha; but it did not appear in the published series.
Other of Bodmer's views of the Indiana wilderness were reproduced as Vignette VIII and Tableau 5 in the atlas of aquatints.
Text by David Hunt, Director, Stark Museum, Orange, Texas, USA