A Further Panorama by Earle? A View of Rio de Janeiro, 1823
journal contributionposted on 2022-02-03, 05:00 authored by Robin SkinnerRobin Skinner
In 1968 Anthony Murray-Oliver noted that the travelling artist, Augustus Earle, had produced a panorama of Rio de Janeiro. Such a work could have provided the basis for Robert Burford’s Panorama of Rio of 1827 and 1828 shown in Leicester Square. Burford’s presentation is known through reviews, advertisements and the six-penny guide with its accompanying woodcut. Based upon drawings reputedly made in 1823, Burford’s spectacle shows a view from within Guanabara Bay, with various ships dotted about the middle distance including some that supposedly participated in the Brazilian struggle for independence. Scholars have sometimes attributed this view to William John Burchell. Earle resided in Brazil between 1820 and 1824 and communicated with Burford regarding his panorama of Sydney at least as early as 1826. While the evidence supporting Earle’s authorship remains circumstantial, this attribution offers an intriguing prospect. It prompts us to consider, if Earle had provided these drawings, why would his contribution have been anonymous, what would it tell us about his experience of South America, and how would it extend our understanding of his and Burford’s panoramic works.