Collection of Books on Greece for Auction

. October 25, 2008

Sotheby’s London has announced the sale of an exceptional collection of books on Greece and the Levant on 13 November, 2008. With a particular focus on Greek works, the selection of books is of a quality that has not been seen at auction for almost twenty years – since Sotheby’s important auction of The Blackmer Collection in 1989. Maintaining its position as the market leader of sales in this specialist area, the selection to be offered will showcase the representations of travellers, adventurers, historians and writers, including a first edition of Louis Dupre’s Voyage à Athènes et a Constantinople (above, lot 60, est. £35,000-50,000), considered to be the most beautiful book ever produced on Greece and Turkey.

Sotheby’s senior specialist Roger Griffiths comments, “Though the intellectual legacy of Greece can be found in printed books from a very early date with the publication of works by Homer and other Greek writers, descriptions of the country, its islands and more recent history did not become common until the seventeenth century”. By the early years of the nineteenth century many travellers had arrived in Greece – including Hobhouse (accompanied by Lord Byron), Leake, Gell, Dodwell, Pouquevill, William Turner and Thomas Hughes – who either visited or resided there and wrote of their experiences. The decline of Ottoman control

and a growing sense of national identity led to the Greek War of Independence (1821-1833) which spawned a great deal of literary and artistic endeavour from dramatic depictions of the battle of Navarin by Reinagle, portraits of the revolutionary leaders by Krazeisen as well as eye-witness accounts.

Included in the sale is one of the most celebrated collections of illustrations relating to the events of the Greek War of Independence, a first edition of Peter von Hess’ Album of Greek Heroism, or the Deliverance of Greece (left, lot 97, est. £15,000-20,000).

Featured in a first edition by Karl Krazeisen (right, lot 113, est. £15,000-20,000) are portraits of the best-known leaders of the War of Independence, which are frequently reproduced; the original drawings are preserved in the National Gallery, Athens. Published in parts between 1828 and 1831, the work contains 21 portraits and 7 views or scenes.

Also included in the sale is one of the most famous colour plates on Greece, included in Edward Dodwell’s Views in Greece (left, lot 55, est. £30,000-
40,000).

Ferdinand Stademann’s Panorama von Athen (right, lot 196, est. £15,000-20,000) is a first edition comprised of ten large contiguous plates that form a magnificent panoramic view of Athens as viewed from the Acropolis. If joined together the panorama would measure almost 6 metres across. The artist was a member of the regency that governed Greece during Otto I’s minority (1832-35) and his Panorama von Athen was intended as a tribute to both Athens and Otto himself.

Category: Auction News

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