Balzac (drawn by). Berthault (engraved by).
Paris. Panckouke. Ca. 1820.
Copper plate engraving (uncolored), image approximately 22 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches on sheet 28 x 21 1/2 inches. Very good condition: light scattered foxing, mainly in the margins, 1 inch tears and 1/2 inch area of paper loss along lower edge (well outside image area). Publisher's blindstamp at top right. This very large, finely engraved view is plate 99 from Volume II of the Modern State section of the monumental publication "Description de L'Egypte," which documented the research of the "savants" who accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte's ambitious expedition to Egypt (1798-1801). The full title translated into English reads "Description of Egypt, or the collection of observations and research made in Egypt during the Expedition of the French Army" hinting at the varied purposes of this foray into the Middle East. The European demand for information about Egypt, its glorious monuments and exotic culture led to the publication of two editions of the work, with engravings pulled from the same printing plates; this is from the second edition, uncolored as issued. Shown is a view of the aqueduct on the Alexandria Canal and a view of the French Army leaving the Tower called Marabou; the quality of the engraving powerfully evokes the splendor of these views. Item #41071