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Black Sea / Euxeinos Pontos

The earliest depiction of a subject from the Black Sea shows a monument, Pompey's pillar, which stood on a rock on the Bosporus, on its exit to the Black Sea (A. Thevet, 1556). The monument existed still in the early 17th century (S. Schweigger in 1608 and G. Sandys in 1615), and was probably destroyed before the early 18th century (Ol. Dapper, “Archipel” in 1688 and C. de Bruyn  in 1714). G. De La Chapelle (1648?) created remarkable depictions of women of the East, set against the background of well-known sightsand monuments of Istanbul.  

The work by J. Laurenberg (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. H. Moll produced high quality engravings of very detailed maps, destined for school use (1717). They are based on the information found in Greek and Roman authors, and the Old and New Testaments. The plates which illustrate the travel account by N. Er. Kleeman (1771), constitute, like the account itself, an early traveller's testimony of the Black Sea region. The rich cartographic production of the late 18th century includes the remarkable maps of P.G. Chanlaire (c. 1780), here coloured over. A map of the whole area is published in the travel chronicle by A. De La Mottraye (1727), remarkable for the journey it narrates and its original illustrations. Another one is included in the Atlas of maps and drawings by Barbié de Bocage, companion to J.J. Barthélemy's work, fictional recreation of the ancient world, doubling as travel narrative. Barthélemy painted an idyllic panorama of antiquity (first edition in 1788, reedition in 1832), which fuelled the readers' interest for antiquity. Another map can be found in the contemporary album Piraeus and Ports.

Detailed maps are published in the work by J.B. Lechevalier (1800), which deals extensively with the area, and in J.B. Reuilly (1806). Together, Ed. D. Clarke's written account of his travels to Russia and the Sea of Azov and the accompanying plates (1810) compose one of the earliest and most significant renderings of the area. Part of Pontus can be seen on the maps by Ch. C. Frankland (1829)  and E. Rey (1867).

Specimens of local flora and fauna, as well as views of coastal cities are published in the account by French naturalist J. Pitton de Tournefort, who travelled to Northern Asia Minor and Pontus after his tour of the Archipelago. The information he provides (on history, mythology, economics, demographics and everyday life), was to become a guide to all travellers who later toured these areas. Other views of cities in coloured engravings only make their appearance again from the 19th century onwards, when travellers begin to tour the Black Sea for business or political motives (see the album  Piraeus and Ports and the photographs in the work by E. Banse (1919). Views of the Bosporus as it unites with the Black Sea illustrate the famous albums by English traveller Julia Pardoe (J. Pardoe in 1838 and J. Pardoe in 1839), and the excellent artistic edition by Ig. Melling (1819).

The companion atlas to the travel account by Ch. Pertusier (1817) is placed among the most beautiful Albums of Istanbul.  Albums with views of cities and snapshots of everyday life of the inhabitants remained popular during the 19th century and responded to the reading public's demand for images and scenes from the East. (J. Schranz, c. 1850). The events of the Crimean war on the coast of the Black Sea (1853 -1856) unfold through the lithographs based on the drawings of lieutenant colonel M. Andrews (1856).

The plates by count A.-F. Andréossy (1828) represent uncommon and original subjects. Apart from cisterns and aqueducts of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods at the wider area of Istanbul, they depict locations of great scientific interest at the area where the Bosporus joins the Black Sea. The popular watercolours of A. Preziosi (1852-57) show costumes and human types of the Ottoman Empire. They stand apart from similar works of the same period thanks to the vivid colours, original poses and lively expressions.

CH.F.M. Texier, one of the first scholars to study Byzantine architecture, released an impressive and thoroughly documented edition on the subject in 1864. It includes plans, drawings, views and details of the Byzantine monuments which crown the splendid city of Trebzon. The reedition of his work on Asia Minor (1882) also includes portraits of Byzantine emperors.

Also noticeable is the edition by J.B. Reuilly (1806), which deals exclusively with the author's journey to Crimea. Interesting snapshots of everyday life and local coins are included in the edition. Coins are also found in the edition by J. B. Brönsted(1830).

Several military officers from Western Europe took part in the Russian-Ottoman war of 1829-30 and depicted monuments, landscapes and human figures from Thrace and the Black Sea in their illustrated memoirs (J. Ed. Alexander, 1830). In spite of mediocre printing quality, the photographic material from the archaeological expeditions of J.G.C. Anderson (1903) to hitherto unxplored regions remains a valuable testimony on the history of the Black Sea region.

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou