Egypt Lost and Found, Explorers and Travellers on the Nile, by Alberto Siliotti
Published by Thames & Hudson in 1998, 367 pages. Very Large Hardback - 36cm by 26cm (N1914)
Brand New Book
The East, according to the 19th-century statesman Benjamin Disraeli, is a career. In Alberto Siliotti's magnificent Egypt Lost and Found, it becomes clear just how many careers have been founded on the West's enduring fascination with the history, monuments, and people of this most evocative part of the East. As its title suggests, the book traces Europe's rediscovery of Egypt, beginning with the shadowy and exotic accounts in Herodotus and Ptolemy, and ending with the 19th-century Orientalist paintings of Hector Horeau and David Roberts.
Along the way, this book is full of marvelous stories of travelers, diplomats, and scholars who became ensnared in the mysteries of Egypt from the 16th century onward - including the German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, who lost himself in the esoteric mysteries of Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the unscrupulous Émile Prisse d'Avennes, who disguised himself as a native in the 1840s to steal wall reliefs from the Temple of Karnak.
Standing at the center of Siliotti's book is Napoleon's 1798 conquest of Egypt, and the race for Egyptian antiquities that it sparked between French, German, and English Orientalists.
The color and the opulence of Siliotti's story is matched only by the book itself. Learned but concise, the book emphasizes the extraordinary illustrations - over 1,000, most in color - of the visual record of an enduring obsession with Egypt