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GOUPIL-FESQUET, Frédéric Auguste Antoine. Voyage d’Horace Vernet en Orient rédigé par M. Goupil Fesquet, Paris, Challamel [1843].

Frédéric Auguste Antoine Goupil-Fesquet (1806-1893) travelled to the East in the company of his uncle, French artist Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789-1863), whose father and grandfather were also renowned painters, and of Gaspard-Pierre-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière (1798-1865), who is famous for having taken the first photographs of the Acropolis of Athens and the Pyramids of Egypt. The small party, ideal in number, started out from Marseilles in October 1839. After Malta, they arrived at the island of Syros, of which Goupil-Fesquet describes the marketplace, the port, the mills, the shops and the traditional coffeehouses. The travellers continued on to Santorini, Crete and Smyrna, and subsequently visited Egypt (Alexandria, the Nile, Cairo), the Holy Land, Syria, and made a short stay in Constantinople. The party returned to France in February 1840. They intended to print daguerreotypes with views of the East for an important edition with images in this new technique, which was published in Paris in 1842 with the title "Les excursions daguerriennes".

Goupil-Fesquet’s text is full of charming scenes with engaging descriptions of everyday life in the lands visited by him, along with narrations of his personal experiences. The edition is illustrated with coloured lithographs, consistent with the current of Orientalism that so fascinated European artists, particularly in the nineteenth century. The author succeeds in impressing his readers by balancing his discourse with the Orientalist images embellishing the book.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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