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West Indies.- Barbados & Saint Lucia.- Torrens (Sir Arthur Wellesley, British Army officer and colonial administrator, 1809-1855) Important collection of over 85 travel drawings, military figure studies, and other studies from life, including 27 finely executed drawings from Torren's time in the West Indies, with drawings recording views, local people, fishing practices, evening entertainment, and colonial dress, the other drawings include views from Madeira and elsewhere in Europe and England, together with 4 autograph letters concerning his injuries in later life and his longing for military service, pen and black inks on various papers, some pencil under-drawing, many signed with monogram, others with inscriptions, dates and location details, various sizes between 140 x 170 mm (5 1/2 x 6 3/4 in) to 250 x 360 mm (9 3/4 x 14 1/8 in), all appear to have been removed from an album with residual brown paper to verso of each, some minor losses, nicks and tears, occasional spotting and minor surface dirt, all unframed, [circa 1840s and later] (c. 85).

A highly competent amateur hand, and a unique record and perspective of early colonial and military life in the West Indies, executed by the godson of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, after whom the artist was named.

"In September 1843 Torrens went, in command of the 1st battalion, from Quebec to the West Indies, arriving at Barbados in October 1843. The battalion was moved from time to time from one island to another, but for two and a half years Torrens commanded the troops in St Lucia and administered the civil government of that island. Torrens declined the offer of the lieutenant-governorship of St Lucia as a permanent appointment, preferring to continue his service in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. He sailed with his battalion from Barbados in March 1847, arriving at Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April. The battalion returned to England in September 1848.

Torrens was later nominated a Brigadier-General to command an infantry brigade in the British army in Turkey in the war with Russia. He joined the 4th division under Sir George Cathcart at Varna just before its embarkation for the Crimea. He was at the head of his brigade at the battles of the Alma and of Balaklava, where he was engaged in support of the cavalry and lost some men in recapturing two redoubts. On the morning of 5 November 1854 he had just returned from the trenches when he was told of the enemy's attack from the valley of Inkerman, and, under the direction of Cathcart, he attacked with success the left flank of the Russians, his horse falling under him, pierced by five bullets [see included letters]. Just before Cathcart was struck down by his mortal wound he called out, 'Nobly done, Torrens!' Torrens was still in front, cheering on his men, when he was struck by a bullet, which passed through his body, injured a lung, splintered a rib, and was found lodged in his greatcoat. He was invalided home. His health, enfeebled by his wound, broke down, and he died in Paris on 24 August 1855." [Extracts from Oxford DnB, accessed 15th September 2021]


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