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View, Middle East, Ottoman Empire, Sicily & Holy Land, Ancient Sites, Luigi Mayer, Antique Prints, Early 19th Century
Luigi Mayer (1755-1803) (after)
Thomas Milton (1743-1827) et al. (engravers)
T. Bensley (printer) Sepulchres of the Kings of Judah
Principal Entrance of the Harbour of Cacamo
Ancient Granary at Cacamo
from Views in Egypt, Palestine, and other parts of the Ottoman Empire
Robert Bowyer, London: c. 1804-13
Color-printed aquatints, finished by hand
11 x 14.25 inches, sheet
10.25 x 12.25 inches, image
Three aquatint scenes of the Mediterranean and Middle East. In Sepulchres of the Kings of Judah, turbaned men explore a tomb and examine a sarcophagus by torchlight. The other two prints show Caccamo (its current spelling), a coastal village on the island of Sicily. Principal Entrance of the Harbour of Cacamo shows the town built into a hillside at the edge of the harbor, as well as rowboats and sailboats on the water. Ancient Granary at Cacamo depicts seated and standing men in front of a Roman ruin. All three prints are from a series of 96 fine aquatints first published separately in 1801, 1802, and 1803 for Sir Robert Ainslie (1730?-1812), ambassador to Constantinople from 1776 to 1792, where he also studied ancient architecture and collected ancient coins. The prints were published collectively from 1804 to 1813.
The site shown in Sepulchres of the Kings of Judah is probably the so-called tomb of King David, located in Jerusalem below the Chamber of the Last Supper. For centuries, it was believed that not only David but King Solomon and the other Kings of Judah were buried there. This notion has been dismissed as unlikely by later scholars.
Mayer was an Italian-born artist of German descent. The aquatint engraver, Thomas Milton studied under William Woollett, and was extolled by scholar W. Bell Scott as having “a unique power of distinguishing the foliage of trees and the texture of bodies, especially water, as it never had been done before, and never will be done again.”
This print is characteristic of those made during Regency period, a time of exploration of the Middle East spurred by Napoleon’s explorations and conquests in Egypt. Often these expeditions were published as books, containing descriptions and illustrations of the ancient architecture, customs and culture of indigenous peoples.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases.