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ESTCOURT, James Bucknall (1802-1855)
[Three Works: a Watercolour, an Ink and a Pencil Sketch of Tangier].
Ca. 1825. Each on separate album leaves, one double-page. Image sizes 55x21 cm (21 ½ x 8 ¼ in); 25,5x20 cm (10x8 in); 28x19,5 cm (11 x 7 ¾ in). All captioned in ink with the same hand on verso. This group is in very good condition. The group includes a watercolour panoramic view of Tangier Bay captioned "# 15 & 16. Two views of the point of Malabat. Tanjir Bay. The Light House and Isla at Tarifa. The bank of sand which unites the Isla to the main land" (with the second description regarding view # 16 not present here). The view represents Cape Malabata (6 miles east of Tangier) facing the Strait of Gibraltar; the mentioned lighthouse still exists. The Isla de Tarifa (modern La Isla de las Palomas) is the island opposite the town of Tarifa at the southern end of the Punta de Tarifa, the southern most point of the Iberian Peninsula. The second view of Tangier Bay is in pencil and captioned "The Castle and port of the Fortifications of Tanjirs taken from the harbour." There is also a smaller monochrome brownish watercolour and ink sketch captioned "A View from the top of the British Vice Consul's House in Tetuan" and dated "Jan. [?]th 1825." Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco, one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi (60 km) east of Tangier. Historical Text Archive on-line notes that in 1825 the post of British vice-consul in Tetuan was held by a Moroccan Jew Salvador D. Hassan, who also acted as Consul of Portugal and Italy. Estcourt "purchased a commission as ensign in the 44th foot on 13 July 1820, exchanging on 7 June 1821 into the 43rd foot (Monmouthshire light infantry) before purchasing promotion to lieutenant (9 December 1824) and captain (5 November 1825). Estcourt served with the regiment, which formed part of Lieutenant-General Sir William Clinton's division sent to garrison towns in Portugal (1826-7) during disruption over the succession to the throne. He appears then to have returned with the 43rd to Gibraltar, before sailing for Plymouth and, in 1832, Ireland. From January 1835 until June 1837, he was second in command to Colonel F. R. Chesney during his expedition to the Euphrates valley, which sought to prove that the river was navigable from within overland reach of the Mediterranean to its mouth on the Persian Gulf, thus shortening the journey to India. Despite a torrid period, during which one steamer was wrecked and twenty lives lost at Basrah on 31 August 1836, Estcourt produced a detailed report for Chesney, anticipating 'no difficulties' in passage during the 'season of high water', provided that accurate knowledge of the deep channel and a vessel of suitable length were acquired. He was less sure about the 'low season', owing to lack of information, though he was confident that local Arabs would not be hostile, once they became used to the steamers" (Oxford DNB). This collection was obviously made from Estcourt first posting in Gibraltar.