Courtesy of a private collector | Licence: All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of a private collector | Licence: All Rights Reserved

Incas Bridge


[January 1849]



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From the Collection


"Our day’s journey took us over the Incas bridge, with which I was disappointed, as I had pictured in my mind a huge ravine, such as that on the Via Mala or at Handek. Here the bridge had been formed by incrustation of lime, which had made a hard layer over the shingle of which the valley is composed. We rode across it for it is more than 30 feet wide." The summit of the pass on which we stood was, according to Darwin, 12, 454 feet above the sea, so some of these peaks must be very lofty.
This is a page from a unique leather-bound volume of Robert Elwes’ travelogue 'A Sketcher's Tour Round the World', first published 1854, (see page 146 for corresponding passage).
The book contains the printed text of the manuscript but remarkably, the monochrome wash illustrations are hand painted by Elwes. The book bears a handwritten inscription ‘Mary F Elwes from her affect. husband Robert Elwes Jan 25 1878’, dated after Robert Elwes became ill at Congham, his Norfolk home. On 28th January 1878 , their youngest daughter Violet noted in her diary: “Papa much worse”. Less than three months later, Robert Elwes died on 17th April aged 58.

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Courtesy of a private collector

From the Watercolour World


Puente del Inca, Mendoza Province, Argentina