Locations of Corfu were among the first to be drawn in situ and illustrate one of the earliest travel chronicles, the account by Br. Breydenbach (1486), which includes views of cities on the pilrgrims' route from Venice to the Holy Land. The town of Corfu with the Old Fortress and the port was depicted in the travel account of B. von Breydenbach (ninth edition in 1502), in a plate engraved by E. Reuwich, which constituted a model for subsequent renderings of the city in other travel editions. Copies and imitations of the same view were incorporated into similar works in the following centuries (Noe Bianco, 1600).
In addition, Corfu was mapped in the first important isolario, Cr. Buondelmonti's manuscript of 1420, a work which also inspired other isolaria, in manuscript or in print (B. Bοrdone, 1547). Published after the victory of the Christian fleet in the battle of Lepanto (1571), the map in the isolario by G.Fr. Camocio (1574), a pioneering work for its era, emphasizes the strong fortress as well as other fortifications of the island. Camocio’s edition influenced other cartographic works, such as G. Rosaccio's, and illustrations of pilgrim chronicles (H. Beauvau in 1615 and J. Cootwicjk, 1619). Like all similar works, the isolario of Antonio Millo (1582-91) is enriched by engravings already published in contemporary editions. Antonio marks perillous waters on the maps of his isolaria, and uses the place names found in contemporary portolani. In 1572 T. Porcacchi published a very successful isolario, (here the edition of 1620) in which he employed the novel technique of copper engraving. This technique permitted the creation of more detailed and accurate images and a greater concentration of information; it gradually became the technique of choice for all illustrated works, until the early 19th century, when progressively lithography became the most popular technique.
V.M. Coronelli, the founder of the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti in Venice, published several editions illustrated with hundreds of copper engravings, which aimed at exalting Venice's victories during the Ottoman-Venetian war (1684-1687). Coronelli's works include views, plans and maps which highlight the main castles and fortresses of the island. (Angelokastro, drawings and views of the Old Fortress, the city of Corfu, and maps – V.Μ. Coronelli in 1688 – however, there are only two views of the Old Fortress - V.Μ. Coronelli in 1687). Copies of these drawings, identical or with variations, illustrated the reprints or translations of these works, and later travel chronicles, history books and geographic publications such as the one by Ol. Dapper in 1688, a work with highly elaborate engravings and abundant material, which was based mainly on ancient Greek and Latin sources, portolani, isolaria, contemporary travel accounts and authoritative maps. At approximately the same period, in 1670, we have a view of the Old Fortress executed by a famous engraver and incorporated into contemporary maps (see edition Piraeus and Ports) and another view in the work by J. von Sandrart (1686), where the influence of similar copper engravings dating from the late 16th century is easily discernible. The plates in the work by J. Sandrart (1687) show castles and other location, in their majority under Ottoman rule. Several similar works which highlight the victories of the Venetians against the Ottomans in the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War (1684-1699) were released during the same period. The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century (1686 and 1690) also exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The plates show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, Southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia all the way to India and Saudi Arabia.
The work by J. Lauremberg (1660) includes excellent engravings of maps of ancient Greece. The maps are accompanied by historical and geographical explanatory texts, which testify to the author's deep erudition.
J. Seller was the creator of the first detailed mapping of the Mediterranean coast, titled “English Pilot...” . First published in the 17th century, it was repeatedly reissued and continued to be used down to the 19th century (here in the 1771 edition). Seller's works established the use of the English language in maritime charts and greatly influenced later cartographic editions. It includes maps of the local shores.
The fact that Corfu occupied a central place on the maritime route from the Adriatic to the East is confirmed by the existence of numerous maps of the island's anchorages ((J.N. Bellin in 1771 and J. Roux, 1804). A map of the anchorages is also included in the companion Atlas to A. Grasset de Saint Sauveur's three-volume work on the Ionian islands (1800). The companion Atlas to the work on the Ionian islands edited by J.B.G.M. Bory de St. Vincent (1823) includes an interesting map of the island. The illustrations of Corfu include views of locations, tables with ancient coins and depictions of local costume. Human types of the island and their attire are also depicted in lithographs by French painter L. Dupré (c. 1825).
Views of Corfu by important British painters are also included in the edition on Dupré's work. Many antiquities of the island were probably transported to Italy after the Venetian campaign of the late 17th century, according to the treatise by P.M. Paciaudi (1761). Later on, the antiquities of the island became object of research and thorough study in the work by Ch.R. Cockerell in 1830, or their existence was simply pointed out, as in the work by R.Ol. Brönstend, 1830. Maps of Corfu were published in the works by F.Ch.H.L. Pouqueville (1826-27), W. Goodisson (1822). The latter, aside from his work as assistant surgeon, investigated and recorded a wealth of information on the island and its inhabitants. The portraits by J. Cartwright (1822) follow the contemporary artistic tendencies, and attempt to clearly convey each person's character and temperament; also Cartwright's works (1821) render landscape and people realistically, with great technical dexterity, delicacy, spontaneity and sensitivity. The drawings of W. Black (1822-26) are an invaluable source for the country's history, as they are among the scarce pictures from the era of the Greek Revolution.
Panoramic views of cities were highly popular among the affluent classes of the 19th century. In the big cities the viewers were able to enjoy the spectacle in purpose-built jalls. The panoramas were created by R. Barker. His son, H. A. Barker, continued this profitable entreprise with R. Burford (1818-1830). During the spectacle, they provided viewers with small pamphlets which contained city maps and annotations.
Naturally, towards the end of the 19th century, maps are included in travel guides as well (K. Baedeker in 1894).
Immediately after the establishment of the Greek State, Chr. Wordsworth published a work on Greece, more of a historical narrative than a travel chronicle, which was richly illustrated and appealed widely to the public. In a later edition of the work (Chr. Wordsworth, 1882) but also in the edition of 1841 (Chr. Wordsworth, 1841) imaginary scenes inspired from mythology as well as landscapes of Corfu, while influenced by earlier works (Ed. Dodwell, 1819), have been executed in a novel artistic style. The Italian artist S. Pomardi (1820) accompanied Edward Dodwell in his archaeological explorations and drew several subjects at the scholar's request. Pomardi's drawings are characterized by clarity and concision. O.M. von Stackelberg was able to render historical locations and antiquities in accordance with the emerging tendency of romanticism (1834).
In the present edition by F.C.H.L. Pouqueville, who elaborated one of the most systematic overviews of the geomorphology of continental Greece in another of his works, the illustrations on the whole reproduce views of Corfu and other places which had appeared in earlier popular and succesful editions.
The impressive landscapes of the island (E. Peytier in 1825) were rendered beautifully in the works by British landscape painter Ed. Lear (1863) who lived in Corfu for several years, as well as in the accounts of other artist travellers such as Ε. Rey (1867). Rare watercolours from the album of the Gennadius Library depict a serene and lush landscape, and interesting locations and monuments (“Sketches of the Ionian Islands”, 1835-1840). Travel accounts of the 19th century generally never fail to include views of Corfu, the first stopover in Greek territory on the journey to the East and / or the Holy Land (J. comte d’ Estourmel in 1848, Ο’Hara Smithin 1859). The capacity for insight and keen observation evident throughout Henri Belle's text (1881) equally mark the illustrations of his travel account. The artistic magazines of the 19th century published plates with views of significant monuments of the East, accompanied by thorough explanatory texts. They sold well, and aimed both at entertaining and educating the public (M. Busch, 1869). Photographs of locals engaged in agricultural and other tasks, as well as impressive landscapes illustrate the memoir of S. J. Barrows (1898).
The Album of 1984 includes rare and very interesting wood engravings taken from the pioneering weekly review “The Illustrated London News” (1842-1885) and the similarly themed magazine “The Graphic” (1869-1885). The plates depict locations, people and events (political, social and military), from 1842 to 1885.
Towards the end of the 19th century, illustration is influenced by the new standards as well as the possibilities offered by photography, and the special viewpoint which this new technique provides. At the same time, details of the landscape and human life tend to prevail at this point (R.R. Farrer in 1882, Α. Schweiger Lerchenfeld in 1887). From then onwards photographical stereotypes will be created, through which the main sights of Corfu will become known (E. Reisinger, 1923).
Finally, the Emblem of the United Stated of the Ionian islands (1817-1864), with the royal coat of arms of Great Britain, is included in J.H. Allan's account of his journey to the Mediterranean (1843). Human types, portraits, idyllic scenes, agricultural tasks and religious ceremonies are depicted in the plates of the album titled Κερκυραϊκαί ενδυμασίαι [Costumes of Corfu] (19??) of Aspioti-ELKA publishers.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou