Extremely rare. Chez l'Auteur, Paris, 1841. First edition. Elephant folio (59.5 x 43 cm), [1 errata], 36 leaves [72 pp.,], 37 aquatint engravings hors texte, etched in sepia by Hilmey after drawings by Horeau, depicting 58 subjects including a frontispiece portrait of Mehemet Ali and a panorama of Cairo, each plate is accompanied by a two-page descriptive text with numerous wood engravings. Modern half-calf with marbled boards, rubbed, scattered foxing throughout, some tears to lower corner of few leaves, restored, damp stain across top margin of title page, restoration to tears on last and title page without any loss of text, otherwise a beautiful copy.
Hector Horeau was trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts between 1819 and 1822, and was a student in the ateliers of E. Ch. Nepveu and F. Debret. From 1821, he first worked as an illustrator and amongst his commissions was drawing the plates for F. Cailliaud’s “Voyage a Meroe (1826-7)”. In 1825 he received his first commission as an architect, and architecture remained his main interest and occupation for the rest of his life, working on both private and public projects in France and England.During the first part of his life he travelled extensively around Europe (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, England, Russia and Sweden) and Egypt. In Egypt, 1837-39, he visited the entire country including Nubia. From Alexandria he went to Cairo, explored the site of Giza, hired a boat to Luxor and went up the Nile to Abu Simbel. To achieve the beautiful illustrations of the book, he mentions in the subscription bulletin that “drawings made on site and the benevolent communications of daguerreotype views, have allowed me to achieve great accuracy in the reproduction of the wonders of the Nile Valley”. Indeed, he met the photographer Pierre-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière at Thebes, from whom he ordered daguerreotypes, and from which he produced his drawings, in addition to those taken on site. His interest in Egypt lay in both its ancient monuments and the modern country and its people, and it would stay with him for the rest of his life, as shown by his work “L’Avenir du Caire au Point de Vue de l’Edilite et de la Civilisation”, published two years before his death, in 1870. In addition to the large sepia plates, the book is illustrated with nearly 120 wood engravings in text. The work was dedicated to Eugene Lanchere of Laglandiere (1802-33) and there apparently are copies with colour plates. First leaf has a List of Subscribers to the publication dated 1846, which included among others, King Louis Philippe I of France, major booksellers, travellers, architects and Orientalists. This work is considered to be one of the books that helped make Egyptology known, and is illustrated with plates of great finesse. [Griffith Institute, Oxford].Bibliographic references: Gay 1895; Hilmy I, 309; Chadenat, 4317; not in Blackmer. Language: French. Relevant subjects: Modern Egypt"
Print, save as PDF, e-mail or share this listing.