[View.] [Virgin Islands: St. John.] St. Jan.
[Copenhagen.]: Em. Baerentzen & Co. lith Inst., Lithographer: A. Nay; artist: F.G. Melby. Ca. 1856. Image area: 8 x 11.” Sheet size: 12 x 16 ½.”
This beautifully colored view of St. John in the then-Danish Virgin Islands features two island residents cooking al fresco at the center foreground. In the mid-distance is substantial dwelling on a hilltop. Further in the distance are the forms of neighboring islands, likely St. Thomas or Tortola.
Baerentzen (1799-1869) was a prominent Copenhagen portraitist who turned his attention and talents to lithography in 1837. He published a series of six views of the Danish Virgin Islands (two of St. Thomas, two of St. Croix and two of St. John) in 1856 as part of Danmark, a 31-plate compilation of scenes and landscapes of Denmark and its colonies. The six Virgin Islands views, including the currently offered view, are among the earliest available views of the islands.
Condition: Hand-colored lithograph. Minor foxing; a bit of edge wear.
Reference: Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America: 4098.