"Tandjong East and Tandjong West, near Jakarta (Batavia) 1819"
Pen, ink and watercolour on paper, 39 x 56.6 cm
VerHuell, a naval officer, author and accomplished draughtsman and watercolourist, went to Indonesia in 1816 where he sailed all over the archipelago on board
the Admiraal Evertzen. After an eventful two years during which he saw active service
in Celebes and the Moluccas, VerHuell returned to Batavia in 1818. While waiting for his ship to be prepared for the return journey to Holland, he made several painting trips to Bogor and the environs of Batavia. VerHuell’s appreciation of the delights
of the Javanese landscape is evocatively described in his diary; below is an excerpt pertaining to the present watercolour:
While I was walking with my friend Baud in this lovely countryside to find a pictorial viewpoint under this pure sky, and under the impression of the entirety and freshness of nature, we came to the high banks of the fast-flowing river Tjilibong. Delighted, I sat down and took out my drawing pencil. The river flowed at my feet and meandered around a hill which was covered in trees and palms. On the hill was the manor house of Tanjong East and opposite on the high banks of the river the beautiful house Tandjong West surrounded by a forest of coconut trees with many straight trunks crowned by beautiful leaves. At the foot of these hills lay a pretty green meadow where cows grazed and some black tamarind trees, and in the foreground, lay the richest nature one can imagine.
He left Indonesia in 1819, but his leaking ship the Admiraal Evertzen came to grief at Diego Garcia. Huell lost most of his drawings and was also blamed for the disaster, being the captain on board. Back in Holland, he worked his remaining sketches into finished drawings and watercolours. Most of his watercolours of Indonesia now are in the collection of the Prins Hendrik Maritime Museum in Rotterdam, donated by VerHuell’s son to the museum in 1895.