Indian Earthenware from Medellín


In his watercolors and drawings, Henry Price (1819–63) often depicted everyday artifacts used by the indigenous people of Colombia. Shown here is Indian earthenware from the province of Medellín. Price was a British painter and musician who was one of the draftsmen of the Comisión Corográfica (Chorographic Commission), a body tasked with studying the geography, natural resources, natural history, regional culture, and agriculture of the Republic of New Granada (present-day Colombia and Panama). He was born in London but moved to New York with his family as an adolescent. In 1843 he married Eliza Castello Brandon, daughter of David Castello Montefiori (1790–1882). Price and Castello probably met in New York, where Castello, also originally from London, had transferred his commercial activities from Kingston, Jamaica. Henry and Eliza Price settled in Bogotá, where he initially worked as a bookkeeper for Castello. With the foundation of the Sociedad Filarmónica, an influential institution in Bogotá society, he was able to make important social connections that led to a teaching post at the Colegio del Espíritu Santo. It was there that he met some future members of the Comisión Corográfica, including Venezuelan painter Carmelo Fernández (1809–87), botanist José Jerónimo Triana (1828–90), and the lawyer and statesman Santiago Pérez Manosalbas (1830–1900). Price was hired for the third expedition, in 1852, to the provinces of Mariquita, Medellín, Córdova, Antioquia, and Cauca, under the direction of Agustín Codazzi (1793–1859). Many of Price’s watercolors and drawings from 1852–55 depict Colombia’s landscapes, the people and their customs, and artifacts. These works are now held at the National Library of Colombia (Colección Comisión Corográfica).

Last updated: January 4, 2016