Cordillera of the Andes, as seen from the Mystery Plain, near the Santa Cruz
In Montevideo near the end of 1833, Conrad Martens met Robert FitzRoy, captain of HMS 'Beagle', who engaged him as a draughtsman to replace the ship's artist Augustus Earle who had fallen ill. Martens thus began a life-long friendship with Charles Darwin who was taking part in the expedition as a gentleman companion to the captain and self-financing naturalist. They sailed south to Patagonia, reaching Port Desire on 23 December 1833. Here Martens shot a rhea which they enjoyed eating before Darwin realised that this was the rare smaller species he had been told of by the gauchos, and preserved the remains. Martens left the Beagle at Valparaiso in the second half of 1834 and took passage to Sydney via Tahiti, arriving in 1835. Martens achieved instant success in Sydney as the most proficient and prolific landscape artist in the colony. The 'Beagle' arrived in 1836, and Darwin and Captain Fitzroy commissioned a number of paintings from the 'Beagle''s voyages in Tierra Del Fuego and the Pacific.
Original size: 257 mm x 466 mm
- Image reference: PW6237
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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