The isolario of Fr. Piacenza (1688) includes superbly engraved maps and a wealth of material on the Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Peloponnese, but the first image of Syros dates from the 18th century. 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 the invaluable edition of his journey, J. Pitton de Tournefort, who changed travellers' itineraries on the Aegean through his pioneering exploration, includes maps of the islands, views of Syros, female costumes, local flora and some antiquities.
The treatise on apiculture on Syros island, written by Abbé Della Rocca (1790) is an uncommon and remarkable work, as it both covers a specialized subject and at the same time provides a lot of detail and pictures on public, private and agricultural life on the island.
Harmonious with his text, the drawings by French traveller A.L. Castellan accompany his gentle discourse. Published in an elegant, small-format editon which came out in multiple volumes, they convey a unique perspective and present rare and original subjects (1812).
The monumental work of M.G.F.A. Choiseul- Gouffier expressed the love of antiquity and the philhellenism of the era in new and original fashion, establishing at the same time (around the late 18th and early 19th century) the primacy of image, or graphic representation, in travel chronicles. It offers a first-time realistic depiction of the port and of Ano Syros. In the beginnings of the 19th century the island is mapped in J. Roux’s index of Mediterranean ports.
J. Emerson Tennent’s edition, which is an amalgam of travel narrative and political dialogue, based on information by third parties, is embellished with a rare view of Syros, at the time when the island was becoming an important port of the Aegean. The chronicle of the voyage made by the first steam-powered cruise ship in Mediterranean waters (Marchebeus in 1839) includes one interesting view of the port Hermoupolis.
The observations made by the members of the Section of Architecture and Sculpture of the French Scientific Mision under G. A. Blouet are accompanied by drawings of excellent technique and high artistic quality. The conclusions of their research and the related graphic material, released in three monumental volumes (1831, 1833, 1838), contributed greatly to the perception of the monuments and constituted a work of reference for all subsequent studies. The French cartoonist H.L. Avelot (1899) made original sketches of people and scenes of everyday life, and created highly innovative material which pushed other artists to create similar illustrations inspired from their travels.
Chr. Wordsworth's highly successful historical narrative on Greece, published after the foundation of the Greek state, shows a view of Syros modelled after a lithograph in the “Atlas” by the French Scientific Expedition, but rendered more lightly this time.
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.
The travel album by E. Rey was published during the same period. The views selected by the author (inscriptions, the fountain, the lazaretto) testify to the wealth of graphic material available in the mid-19th century. Albums, that is, illustrated editions combining landscapes, monuments, and picturesque scenes from everyday life all over the East, are typical of the first half of the 19th century. Thus, Syros could not be absent from the album by Joseph Carne. Among a plethora of images offered by late-19th century editions, rich and prospering Hermoupolis stands out in A. Schweiger Lerchenfeld’s book.
F.F. Boissonnas' work, in the first quarter of the 20th century, constituted a landmark in the history of photography. His photographs of Syros and other spaces blend landscape and people inperfect harmony.
The wood engtavings, water colours and photographs (1935) transmit Fr. Perilla's love and enthusiasm for the Cyclades islands, as well as his artistic sensitivity.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou