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 Aubert pere
Printed by Bougeard
From St. Louis, Maximilian retraced the route of his earlier voyage on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers as far as Mount Vernon, again visiting New Harmony before travelling north approximately fifty miles to Vincennes, Indiana. From Vincennes, he journeyed overland and arrived again at the banks of the Ohio opposite Louisville, Kentucky, where he and his companions boarded a steamboat for Portsmouth, above Cincinnati.
From Portsmouth, they followed what was known as the Ohio canal along the Scioto River northward to the port of Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie, where they took a steamer bound for Buffalo, New York. Bodmer's original drawing of the Cleveland lighthouse on Lake Erie apparently has been lost, and only the published aquatint preserves his view of this landmark. Near Buffalo, Bodmer painted one of North America's most famous natural wonders, Niagara Falls, also featured in the atlas of aquatints as Tableau 39.
From Buffalo, the travelers made their way via the Erie Canal to Albany, New York, and descending the Hudson River, arrived again at New York City. From here they sailed on July 16, 1834, for Europe, arriving at the French port of Le Havre on August 8.
Text by David Hunt, Director, Stark Museum, Orange, Texas, USA