The first travellers who walked Pindos were those touring Northern Greece, and having Ioannina as their destination, during the period of Ali Pasha's rule (late 18th - early 19th century). Thus we find illustrations of Meteora in H. Holland's text (1815), crucial for its insights on social and economic matters during the pre-revolutionary period; in the chronicle by T.S. Hughes (1820), fervent philhellene and supporter of the Greek struggle for independence, and in the supreme artistic works by L. Dupré (1825) and O.M. von Stackelberg (1830). Stackelberg was able to render historical locations and antiquities in accordance with the emerging tendency of romanticism (1834).
Griechenland (1825c) was one of several early 19th-century editions on customs, traditions, costumes and monuments of Greece. The illustrations consisted of plates already published in popular travel accounts of the previous decades. 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 impressive landscape of Meteora could not be missing from a highly successful work of the post-revolutionary period, that of Chr. Wordsworth (which is more of historical narrative than a travel chronicle) as well as from that of Ed. Lear landscape paintings (1851). These views are executed in a novel style, influenced by Impressionism. Together with Mount Athos, Meteora form part of R. Curzon's itinerary. Although he was interested mainly in manuscripts, Curzon includes views of monasteries and plans of other monastic buildings in his edition. Towards the end of the 19th century there is a wealth of illustrations of the area, which are not limited to views of buildings, landscapes or monuments but also focus on details and show picturesque snapshots of everyday social life, inside and outside the monastery. (A. von Schweiger Lerchenfeld, 1887). The prolific Irish scholar J.P. Mahaffy wrote an account of his tour of Greece (1890), illustrated with exquisite wood engravings. The plates were etched from pencil drawings, which in their turn were based on imaginary representations and photographs.
Photographs of locals engaged in agricultural and other tasks, as well as impressive landscapes illustrate the memoir of S. J. Barrows (1898). 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. Photos of Meteora are included in the edition by Ed. Reisinger (1923) as well.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou