Francis Hervé (1781-1850) was a British artist of French origin. From 1818 to 1840 he took part in the exhibitions of the Royal Academy. He was a close friend of Madame Tussaud and collaborated with her sons in composing a book on her life. Hervé travelled to the East in 1833, and the Philhellene general Richard Church commissioned him to make the portraits of the Greek revolutionaries. Hervé intended to sail to Istanbul directly, but finally disembarked in Nafplion and stayed in the Greek state for some time.
He published the impressions of his journey in a two-volume work in 1837. He gives a lively and entertaining description of public and private life in King Otto's Greece, with several anecdotes. Hervé started out on his journey from Marseille in August 1833. He reached Nafplio, then still the capital of the Greek State by way of Malta and Naples. Bavarian politics, personalities of public life, visits to archaeological and historical locations, religious ceremonies, officials balls and foreign diplomats all form part of this lively chronicle. Hervé continued his journey on to Izmir, Istanbul and its surroundings, and later gave equally rich and engaging description of these locations. He returned to his country by land, through Thrace, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.
His chronicle is illustrated with lithographs (portraits and views), from drawings he made himself. Drawings by Hervé were also used in other popular editions of the time, such as the Albums by Thomas Allom, Christopher's Wordsworth's descriptions of Greece etc.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou