A Maceata and Caledonian

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: USA
    City: Washington DC
    Place: British Embassy

    This early 19th-century aquatint print was published as an illustration to Charles Hamilton Smith’s ‘Ancient Costumes of Great Britain and Ireland: From the Druids to the Tudors’, first published in two volumes in 1821. ‘A Maceata and Caledonian’ shows representatives of the two tribes which inhabited the north of Britain in Roman times. They are portrayed as armed, naked warriors, covered in tattoos. The tattoo designs include animals, suns and geometric patterns.

    Smith’s ‘Ancient Costumes of Great Britain and Ireland’ goes beyond the subject of costume history to describe and illustrate armies, battles, weapons, ships, tournaments and every day activities of the period. The text and illustrations on fashion encompass armour, ecclesiastical costume and clothes worn by the general population. However, the illustrations not only depict the costume of the time but also include relevant background scenes and illustrations of actual artefacts.

  • About the artist
    Robert Havell senior, son of artist and publisher Daniel Havell, was born in Reading but moved to London as a child. After Robert launched his career, father and son collaborated on illustrations for Henry Salt’s ‘Twenty Four Views Taken in St. Helena’ (1809–10). However, the partnership was short-lived and Robert later established himself at premises in Fitzrovia. He married Lydia Miller Phillips and had a son, Robert junior. Robert junior and his father formed the firm of R. Havell & Son, working on numerous projects including ‘Birds of America’ for John James Audubon. The scale of this project led them to employ 50 additional staff and move to larger premises in Oxford Street. Robert senior died a year after the company expansion.
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    Materials & Techniques
    aquatint, coloured aquatint
  • Details
    Title
    A Maceata and Caledonian
    Date
    published 1 June 1815
    Medium
    Coloured aquatint
    Acquisition
    Origin uncertain
    GAC number
    15781