A Bit of Something White in Joseph Kidd’s Jamaican View

The colored vignette is over 15 inches high, centered on a page with generous borders. So why is the subject of the “meaty” detail in the middle of the foreground so hard to identify? It is small, but not that small. And might this illegibility actually promote rather than impede the process of interpretation? That is what I am suggesting in this brief examination of a prominent but hard to decipher detail of Joseph Kidd’s Palm and Banana Trees, a plate from his lithographic series Illustrations of Jamaica in a Series of Views Comprising the Principal Towns, Public Buildings, Estates, and Most Picturesque Scenery of the Island (London, 1838–40).

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