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This two volume set is William Simpson’s Sketches at the Sea of War in the East. The work was published in London by Paul & Dominic Colnaghi & Co. between 1855 and 1856. The volumes, which detail the Crimean War, feature 81 lithographs and is bound in original half red morocco. It is the first and second series complete with dedication and lists of plates and features original hand-coloring.
William Simpson (18231899) was a Scottish artist, war artist and war correspondent. The Crimean War was one of the first wars documented extensively in written reports, drawings, and some photographs. Simpson helped cover this war, which was the first time Britain was able to follow the day to day realities. These plates are indeed an impressive piece of work, not only artistically and technically, but also as pictorial reporting. Simpson must in this way rank as an early war correspondent. (Abbey)
After the Crimean war broke out Simpson was engaged upon views of the Baltic battles for Colnaghi & Son; and when that firm decided to publish a large illustrated work on the Crimean campaign from sketches made on the spot, Simpson was selected for the work on Days recommendation. He started on short notice, arrived at Balaclava in November 1854, and remained with the British army till the fall of Sebastopol. Simpson was thus the pioneer war-artist, and received several commissions to paint incidents in the war for the queen. The Seat of War in the East was published in two volumes by Colnaghi in 1855-6, and is still regarded as a brilliant example of lithographic work. (DNB)