The People of Gibraltar
1826 - Filippo Benucci - Drawn from Nature 

Filippo Benucci was born in Rome in 1779 and was celebrated as a landscape painter.  He was also well known as an engraver working from Florence and as one of the first lithographers of Maltese scenes. I don't know when he visited Gibraltar but he produced quite a few  interesting and historically revealing engravings of the Rock - 'drawn from nature' - that were published at one time or the other from 1825 to 1828. Here are a few of them.



The semi-circular tilted area in the center was called The Devil's Bowling Green. It no longer exists


The tails of the horses have been trimmed square to give a rakish appearance. This style was known as the 'Gibraltar dock'. It was a popular conceit at the time


The name of the boat on the left is that of Ralph Lowe. He was the 110th Proprietor of the Exchange and Commercial Library  (See LINK


The Alameda Gardens (see LINK) were only about a decade old when Benucci produced this engraving. It was officially opened on the 14th April, 1816. 
According to the Gibraltar Chronicle - 'The walks at the New Alameda being completed they will be opened to the public tomorrow afternoon, at 4 o’clock, when three Bands of Music will attend'

In 1824 Benucci produced a set of six engravings executed in stone depicting "Six views of Gibraltar and its Environs". They were published in Munich in the form of a booklet by an unknown publisher and printed by Dreseley in Munich the following year.




This building was in the Almoraima area. During the heydays of the Royal Calpe Hunt perhaps one of Gibraltar's most famous "civilian" institutions (see LINK) - this place was a frequent watering hole. The association between Gibraltarians and the Cork Woods at the "Almoraima" goes back centuries.



The bridge is difficult to identify as there are several rivers between Gibraltar and Algeciras


An unusual picture. The buildings may be on Europa Flats and the view towards the Windmill Hill plateau to the north


The rock on the left was and is still known locally The Devil's Tooth


A larger coloured print of the above - Thanks to Abigail Kenneth Busuttil

The Auction Square picture is a history lesson on its own. For a start the name itself is yet another to add to the large number by which this square has been known throughout the years . As regards the picture itself, the Exchange and Commercial Library was almost brand new at the time. It had been inaugurated in 1818 and is still without any the Genoese style shutters a distinctive feature of Gib.

To the right is the three storied Griffiths' Hotel and to its left with balcony, probably the Guard House. Peeking over it is St Mary the Crowned minus its copula. The view of Main Street (see LINK) to the left shows another three storied building which I think still survives.

The Rock appears as a background with signal station and its black leather balls signalling mast. On the square itself three dogs - the place was polluted with them in the early 19th C . 
There are at least two auctioneers -the men who gave the square its local name of "el Martillo" - the hammer - several identifiable Spanish or local smugglers (see LINK) - one of them smoking the tobacco he probably smuggles -  several Jewish porters, Moorish traders and a complete posse of well dressed, top-hated merchants - who made fortunes buying and selling in this square - finished off with a few soldiers and their woman and a several young people - also possibly an "aguador" with his donkey and his wooden water barrels. The four pole contraption is a weighing machine called a"Romana" - something I have never seen before in any picture of Gibraltar.

Although I don't know what the anchor symbol with FB on the barrels stands for -somebody suggested French Brandy?  Historically, what more could one want of a picture?