Taras Shevchenko. Barsa-Kelmes. Pencil on paper (15 × 23,3 cm). Barsa-Kelmes. [7 – 13.VIII 1848]. Taras Shevchenko National Museum, inv. g – 462.
Lower left – pencil inscription by hand Shevchenko: 1. Barsa-Kilmes. Right at the top marked with ink: Number 117 – 12. On the back bottom left pencil inscription: barsa Kylmes Island at Aral sea.
Barsa-Kelmes island (which means "go – no return") is located in the northern part of the Aral Sea, now – the Aral region, Kyzyl-Orda region, Kazakh SSR.
Dated on the basis of records in Butakov diary. Members of the expedition explored island 7 – 13 August 1848. A.I. Butakov diary gave a description of the island:
"Barsa-Kelmes has the form of a long triangle whose base in the west, 11 versta long, the largest stretch of it (R from SWW to NOO) – 22 versta. Steep banks have good depth, but are almost perfectly straight features, with very small bends so that there are nowhere convenient anchorage, enclosed from all winds. The most elevated part – West: its height 240 feet from the surface" ["Day notes of navigation A. I. Butakov on the Aral Sea in 1848 – 1849 years", Tashkent, 1953, p. 19].
August 17, 1848 to the island was landed group of sailors under the command of lieutenant Akishev to conduct surveys. Sketches of the island made from the land, so Shevchenko was a member of this group. Survey party stayed on the island to 13.VIII [see ibid. 16 – 19].
Watercolor drawing "Expedition tent on the Barsa-Kelmes island" see number 22.
Storage areas: collections of A. A. Kozachkovsky, V. P. Kakhovski, S. D. Brazol, V. Tarnowski's Chernihiv museum of ukrainian antiquities – № 224, Chernihiv Regional History Museum, Gallery of pictures Shevchenko, Kharkiv.
E. A. Sereda
After publication: Taras Shevchenko Complete Works in 10 volumes. – Kyiv: ed. Academy of sciences of UkrSSR, 1962, vol. 8, № 154 (image), p. 52 – 53 (note).