The People of Gibraltar
1830 - Frederick Leeds Edridge

Frederick Leeds Edridge was a British army officer of the Sixth Battalion of the Royal Artillery and - according to some sources - was stationed in Gibraltar during the mid 1830s. He was also a gifted amateur artist. Before taking up his post on the Rock he had fought in the Battle of Waterloo after which he received the Waterloo Medal. He joined the Royal Artillery five years later in 1820. Despite his war-like credentials he was probably not much of a soldier as he was in his late thirties by the time he left the Rock - still a lowly lieutenant.

In the 1830s Gibraltar had a reputation for being a good Garrison, if not for the ordinary soldier at least for its officers. But of course this only held good for those who enjoyed fox-hunting, (see LINK) hard drinking, and a relatively philistine approach to life in general. Edridge's artistic temperament, however, probably made up for whatever military and other shortcomings he may have suffered.

Like more than one officer stationed in Gibraltar in the nineteenth century he probably found refuge in painting and seems to have taken it upon himself to paint - mostly in watercolour - a very personal view of Gibraltar. By today's standards his style would probably be classified as Naïve but I think many would agree that his work is both charming and historically interesting - especially as one gets the impression that he painted directly from life rather than from memory - or his imagination.

It is an impression that may be incorrect as the paintings are dated by the Gibraltar Museum - who own most copies of his work - as 1836; that is two years after he is supposed to have left the Rock. It is something that also contradicts the fact that he is reputed to have painted Castle Steps - perhaps his best known work - from the window of the officer's quarters in Bell Lane.

He was still a 2nd lieutenant when he died in Woolwich aged fortyone. 

The Rock from the Queen of Spain's Chair - but the view is from the north end of isthmus

View of the Line Wall before the construction of Wellington Front. The sea lies just below

Looking up Castle Street - or Calle Comedia - from Cornwall's Parade

Junction of Engineer Lane and Castle Street - Calle Comedia - drawn from a window in the officers' quarters in Bell Lane

The Garrison Library in Governor's Parade (See LINK)

Loading and unloading at Waterport

South of Charles V Wall (see LINK)

Looking north towards part of the town with San Roque in the distance

The Moorish Castle (See LINK

View of the South Mole from Rosia Road showing the presence of steamships in the Bay. The first of these - much to the amusement of both Garrison and civilians - arrived in the 1820s. By the end of the century most of this area would become unrecognisable with the construction of the new dockyard.

Another view of the Line Wall with the Synagogue on the left and the Bomb House - today the site of the Gibraltar Museum - on the right

View of the isthmus

A view towards Spain.  Note oversized soldier and ghost sitting on the wall on the left

The Rock from Spain (Attributed)

A view to the north towards the Moorish Castle

Middle Hill Battery

Gibraltar from San Roque  (Cover picture - 300 Years of Images )

Africa View - with Ape's Hill in the distance (See LINK)

Careening at low tide

East Side Caves

The Galleries (See LINK)

Edridge travelled through Spain before taking up his post in Gibraltar. He painted three pictures while in Segovia, Centro del Acueducto - shown above and dated 1833 - Plaza Mayor, and El Alcazar.

A watercolour view of Barcelona from Montjuic Castle dated 1833.