Campbell (Nineteenth Century), Elizabeth
Sicily, 'Monte Allegro. 14th May 1825'. 'Repose of our Party _ Deaks!! Mr Walker, EC, Mr Stroud. Mr. Moor'. 'Nip' can just be seen at the base of the wall. The black snake that 'electrified' Campbell is in the foreground Watercolour. Inscribed and dated, 1825. Provenance: An album of watercolours by Elizabeth Campbell. 8x11 inches.

£675

“Monte Allegro where we baited our mules we found a small place and the sulphur mine close to it. The town itself now stands at the foot of the rock, on which, still are the remains of houses, a Castle and Walls, from which the inhabitants were driven by the Saracens and which ruins have rather a good effect on approaching, tho’ the want of trees is much felt, as the rocks are white. The Inn was too poor a place to enter, and the gentlemen at length found an olive tree at a short distance from the town, as the best substitute for a house; it was situated in a young cotton field, the plant being yet in the seed leaf, and not quite unlike a broad bean. Here we ate our cold provisions and indulged in a nap, mine not long, as I went under some rock to sketch the repose of the party, and busily so engaged was rather electrified by a black snake passing swiftly over my instep and with its tail giving me so strong a blow on the ankle I thought at first it had bit me. It was the blow which drew my attention and I saw the animal for an instant, so rapid was its speed, being in great alarm from Nip, who had routed it out of a bramble bush to my right. Mr. S. who was near me and saw it, aided in our ineffectual search for it, wherefore I concluded it had retreated to its home. This small black sort, with a very thick tail are said to be very venomous. Crowds of the women and children of the village, had wandered out to look at us. One old woman had a basket full of wild artichokes which we found very refreshing eating. They had been boiled, were cold, quite young, and she peeled off all the outer leaves. We saw an immense quantity of the plants all over the Island, especially in the part of the Country we shortly came to, where a long track of country seemed abandoned to this plant and wild fennel, the flower stems of which had all the appearance of young trees, and on a bank side led one to fancy them a young plantation. Some peasants were cutting the stems of many inches circumference and much taller than a man. I could not learn for what purpose they are used.”

This work appears in the Group: ELIZABETH CAMPBELL - SICILY 1825

Description

“Monte Allegro where we baited our mules we found a small place and the sulphur mine close to it. The town itself now stands at the foot of the rock, on which, still are the remains of houses, a Castle and Walls, from which the inhabitants were driven by the Saracens and which ruins have rather a good effect on approaching, tho’ the want of trees is much felt, as the rocks are white. The Inn was too poor a place to enter, and the gentlemen at length found an olive tree at a short distance from the town, as the best substitute for a house; it was situated in a young cotton field, the plant being yet in the seed leaf, and not quite unlike a broad bean. Here we ate our cold provisions and indulged in a nap, mine not long, as I went under some rock to sketch the repose of the party, and busily so engaged was rather electrified by a black snake passing swiftly over my instep and with its tail giving me so strong a blow on the ankle I thought at first it had bit me. It was the blow which drew my attention and I saw the animal for an instant, so rapid was its speed, being in great alarm from Nip, who had routed it out of a bramble bush to my right. Mr. S. who was near me and saw it, aided in our ineffectual search for it, wherefore I concluded it had retreated to its home. This small black sort, with a very thick tail are said to be very venomous. Crowds of the women and children of the village, had wandered out to look at us. One old woman had a basket full of wild artichokes which we found very refreshing eating. They had been boiled, were cold, quite young, and she peeled off all the outer leaves. We saw an immense quantity of the plants all over the Island, especially in the part of the Country we shortly came to, where a long track of country seemed abandoned to this plant and wild fennel, the flower stems of which had all the appearance of young trees, and on a bank side led one to fancy them a young plantation. Some peasants were cutting the stems of many inches circumference and much taller than a man. I could not learn for what purpose they are used.”