Campbell (Nineteenth Century), Elizabeth
'Terra Nuova - May 10th 1825. Sicily'; Elizabeth Campbell and Nip watch locals arrive on the beach with their donkeys to visit the wells. Watercolour. Inscribed and dated, 1825. Provenance: An album of watercolours by Elizabeth Campbell. 8x11 inches.

“Terra Nuova we found to be a long better sort of village, situated on the sea shore and containing a tolerable, though small Inn, where, however, previous travellers had secured the best apartments. In the evening we walked towards the Catania end of the Town to the ruins of what are called a Temple, consisting, in one immense column, of fluted order, laying prostrate on the sand, which may have covered many more. Sitting on the base of one of these Columns, by the beautiful light of a rich setting sun, the calm sea just murmuring, as the tranquil wave bust upon the shore, the coast beyond formed a beautiful view and soon were these wide sands covered with people, donkeys, mules and cattle, hastening to the Wells, nine in number which, singular to say, are upon a level with the sea and deeply imbedded in the sand. I proceeded ankle deep in the sand to look at the farthest wells, which are walled in, have roofs, and are amply supplied with water. Some are oval, some square, some round. Donkeys laden with jars were waiting and on all sides, the crowd hurried to the spot. Terra Nuova is supposed to have been the site of the ancient Finziade, built by Finzia, with the ruins of Gela, so says Biscari, from the prostrate Column and the tombs said to be throughout the neighbourhood, it seems probable there was an ancient town on the spot. How was it destroyed? By the hand of man or of nature? How comes the walls so situated? And trees, still in beautiful verdure, far below them near the sea? Has the sea encroached upon the shore and were these Wells once in the heart of the city? No-one can solve these doubts for there seems nothing positive known of the old town, at least that we could hear.”

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

Description

“Terra Nuova we found to be a long better sort of village, situated on the sea shore and containing a tolerable, though small Inn, where, however, previous travellers had secured the best apartments. In the evening we walked towards the Catania end of the Town to the ruins of what are called a Temple, consisting, in one immense column, of fluted order, laying prostrate on the sand, which may have covered many more. Sitting on the base of one of these Columns, by the beautiful light of a rich setting sun, the calm sea just murmuring, as the tranquil wave bust upon the shore, the coast beyond formed a beautiful view and soon were these wide sands covered with people, donkeys, mules and cattle, hastening to the Wells, nine in number which, singular to say, are upon a level with the sea and deeply imbedded in the sand. I proceeded ankle deep in the sand to look at the farthest wells, which are walled in, have roofs, and are amply supplied with water. Some are oval, some square, some round. Donkeys laden with jars were waiting and on all sides, the crowd hurried to the spot. Terra Nuova is supposed to have been the site of the ancient Finziade, built by Finzia, with the ruins of Gela, so says Biscari, from the prostrate Column and the tombs said to be throughout the neighbourhood, it seems probable there was an ancient town on the spot. How was it destroyed? By the hand of man or of nature? How comes the walls so situated? And trees, still in beautiful verdure, far below them near the sea? Has the sea encroached upon the shore and were these Wells once in the heart of the city? No-one can solve these doubts for there seems nothing positive known of the old town, at least that we could hear.”