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Bocanema, Colombia: a waterfall. Coloured etching by C. Empson, 1836.

  • Empson, Charles, active 1836
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Places in Colombia. Coloured etchings and lithographs by C. Empson, 1836.
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Credit: Bocanema, Colombia: a waterfall. Coloured etching by C. Empson, 1836. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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"Near the ancient town of Bocanema, at a place called El Salto, ("the Leap") is to be seen one of those primitive and picturesque suspension-bridges which are so frequent in South America: it was constructed by the villagers in a single day. The generous feeling which stimulated them to perform this arduous task deserves to be recorded. The venerable priest of Bocanema was anxious to visit an Indian family whose hut was separated from his own dwelling by the rapid torrent of El Salto. The only place at which he could ford it was so distant, that he had not strength to accomplish the journey. No sooner was this difficulty made known to his flock, than with affectionate promptitude they prepared to prove their attachment, by making it practicable for him to pass El Salto. The bridge was formed of the light but almost imperishable canes which exuberantly border the mountain-stream: the tough and flexible creeping plants afforded an excellent substitute for cordage. Two trees, which were firmly rooted at the brink of the torrent, served for buttresses, giving stability to the rude arch they had formed, by uniting the woven flooring with a rustic railing, which was further strengthened by split and flattened bamboos. All these were attached to the strong branches of the trees before mentioned, and formed the abutments of a light but enduring structure. The narrator of this occurrence crossed the bridge with the priest for whose accommodation it was erected, and from his own lips learned the history of its origin. " (Empson. loc. cit.)


[London] : [Ackermann and Co.] : [Charles Tilt], [1836]

Physical description

1 print : etching, with gouache and gum arabic ; sheet 23.5 x 15.7 cm


El salto or the waterfall Eighth narrative

References note

Charles Empson, Narratives of South America, illustrating manners, customs, and scenery: containing also numerous facts in natural history; collected during a four years' residence in tropical regions, London 1836, pp. 123-124
Travel in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860 from the library of J.R. Abbey, San Francisco 1991, vol. 2, no. 702.10

Lettering note

Lettering in ink on verso


Wellcome Library no. 678035i



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  • portfolio no. [8]

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