George Town, and the New Buildings from Goat Hill
About the work
Labels below this image of Ascension Island indicate the important features represented, including Georgetown, the capital. The view was drawn from Goat Hill, on which a small battery was built in 1835, the year the print was published. The battery was later replaced by Fort Hayes, constructed in the 1860s as a major defence site, which remains on Goat Hill today. This is the last of ten illustrations to ‘Picturesque Views in the Island of Ascension’ (1835), written and illustrated by Lieut. William Allen. Allen’s text includes the following:
‘…George Town can boast of only a few wooden houses, with a well-built stone government store... Goat Hill will not long remain to command this fine view, as it is intended to cut it down, and fill in that part where the stone is quarried… The aspect of Ascension is so uninviting, that one would think a residence here would be as intolerable (though opposite in its nature) as banishment to Siberia. The residents however contrive, by constant occupation, by the excitement of homeward-bound ships, (which, as this is in the trade wind and the track from St. Helena, are frequently passing), and by the hope, not, however, frequently gratified, of the arrival of ships from England.’
About the artist
William Allen was born in Weymouth, Dorset, and entered the navy aged 12. He took part in the Passage of the Dardanelles (1807), Capture of Java (1811) and the Niger expedition led by R. L. Lander (1832). He was commander of the ‘Wilberforce’ during the disastrous Niger expedition of 1841-42. In 1848, with T. R. H. Thomson, he published ‘Narrative of the Expedition to the River Niger’. In 1849 he travelled through Syria and Palestine, later publishing ‘The Dead Sea, a New Route to India’ (1855). He was a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (1835) and Royal Society (1844). As an amateur artist he exhibited at the Royal Academy and Society of British Artists. He became retired rear-admiral (1862) before his death in Weymouth, aged 71.
Illustrator and lithographer George Barnard was a pupil of artist James Duffield Harding. Barnard exhibited his work from 1832 to 1884 at the Royal Academy, British Institution, Society of Artists and the New Water Colour Society. In 1857 he published ‘The Theory and Practice of Landscape Painting in Watercolours’. By 1853 Barnard had been appointed Professor of Drawing at Rugby. His published works include six plates for ‘Reminiscences of Hastings’ (c.1839) and 27 for ‘Switzerland, Scenes and Incidents of Travel in the Bernese Oberland’ (1843). He also published several manuals on drawing and painting, including ‘The Handbook of Foliage and Foreground Drawing’ (1853) and ‘Drawing from Nature: A Series of Instructions in Sketching’ (1865).