Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal

WETZEL, Johann Jakob.

Voyage pittoresque au Lac de Garda ou Benaco.

Zurich: Orell, Fussli et Compagnie, 1824 Stock Code: 111172
Reserve Ask us a question

Superbly coloured aquatints of Swiss scenery

First edition of this rare suite of plates with superb contemporary hand-colouring, executed with enormous subtlety and exhibiting a beautiful gradation of tone. Wetzel (1781-1834) was one of the leading Swiss landscape painters of the Romantic era, the popularity of whose work meant that a "whole staff of aquatint engravers was employed in imitating his watercolour drawings" (The Print Collector's Quarterly, volume 13, 1926).

Wetzel trained under fellow Swiss artists, Johann Heinrich Bleuler, Johann Walser and Gabriel Lory, and during his career garnered some distinguished patronage: his "transparent painting" of the Rhine Falls was purchased by the Austrian emperor Franz II in 1814. He began a series of works on the Swiss and Italian lakes in 1819, designed the plates for an illustrated edition of Byron's Prisoner of Chillon (1818) and was keenly aware of the European-wide appetite for the "sublime" and "picturesque" aspects of Swiss and Italian scenery, producing a series of small, affordable views of well-known tourist spots as well as the more expensive "high end" productions such as the current work. The aquatinter, Conrad Casper Rordorf (b. 1800), was also Swiss and ended his life in Texas, shot dead over a land dispute.

Not in Library Hub, WorldCat and KVK locate only the copies at Zurich and the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Only two copies have appeared at public auction: 1994 (the present copy) and 2002. A superb survival in the original wrappers and portfolio, as it would have been issued to discerning collectors.

Confused? Read our glossary


Folio (485 x 320 mm). Original off-white plain wrappers loose in the original drab pale brown portfolio, paper label on front cover (printed advertisement on inside back cover), green cloth ties.


15 superb aquatint views by Rordorf after Wetzel with contemporary hand-colouring, all but two plates watermarked 1824 (the exceptions dated 1822 and 1825).


A little wear to spine of portfolio, a few marks in margins of the view of Desenzano. A particularly fine copy: tall, clean and uncut.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book