Friday, May 18, 2007

Exhibition: More re Description at Beaux Arts

To accompany the opening of Napoleon's Description de L'Egypte exhibition, which is on dipslay from May 12th to 14th July 2007, the Beaux Arts Gallery (Dallas, Texas) has published an online story entitled The story of The Napoleonic Survey of Egypt.
"The members of Scientific and Artistic Commission returned to Cairo with their portfolios packed with drawings and data that served as the foundation material for their anticipated publication of Description de L'Egypte. They wanted to return to France in order to compile their drawings and data into the publication, but were forced to remain in Egypt for two additional years, until the surrender of General Abdullah Jacques Menou on September 3, 1801 to British forces. By the end of the month, the last of the French army and members of the Commission had left the country. They managed to remove their drawings and other documentation along with some of the antiquities back to France, but the British confiscated the Rosetta Stone and other valuable antiquities, which were sent to the British Museum. In the end, the Egyptian campaign had been very expensive in cost to human life, one man out of every three that had departed France three years earlier had died.
After arriving back in France, a decision was made in 1802 to publish Description de L'Egypte, and the action included the payment of fixed salaries to the members of the Commission, at the expense of the public library. The publication required the next quarter century for the savants to put their collections, illustrations, and memoirs into print."
See the above page for the full story.