About

Description de l'Egypte

Description de l'Egypte was the outcome of the collaboration of more than 150 prominent scholars and scientists who accompanied Bonaparte to Egypt in 1798. They systematically examined almost every aspect of contemporary and ancient Egyptian civilization.The Description de l'Egypte was the outcome of a 20-year process, dependent on the talents and industry of some 2,000 mechanics, draftsmen, cartographers, typographers and engravers. Nothing similar had ever been attempted before. Not only did it give an illustrated account of Egypt's historic, cultural, artistic and religious treasures; it also described the topography and provided a detailed description of the flora, fauna and mineralogy of the country. Every aspect of Egyptian life known during that period was precisely and accurately described.

In 1802, Bonaparte ordered the Imperial Press to begin publishing the visual record. The monumental work was published., in parts, between 1809 and 1822, in 20 volumes, known as the Imperial edition.

It included over 900 plates hand-colored copperplate-engravings and some 3000 illustrations representing an exhaustive record of Egyptian history, architecture, antiquity, geography, natural history, botany and the humanities. It is found in various editions of varying numbers of volumes: often at least 9 volumes of text, and 11 volumes of plates.

The first edition proved so popular that the second edition, also known as the Royal edition, was published in Paris, by C. Panckoucke from 1821-1829, comprising 26 text volumes and 11 plates volumes.

It included over 900 plates hand-colored copperplate-engravings and some 3000 illustrations representing an exhaustive record of Egyptian history, architecture, antiquity, geography, natural history, botany and the humanities. It is found in various editions of varying numbers of volumes: often at least 9 volumes of text, and 11 volumes of plates. The first edition proved so popular that the second edition, also known as the Royal edition, was published in Paris, by C. Panckoucke from 1821-1829, comprising 26 text volumes and 11 plates volumes.

The impact of this masterpiece was enormous. It directed the attention of the world to ancient Egypt, and led to the modern study of its records and early history. Superbly illustrated and accurately documented, this bibliographical rarity had the effect of awakening the interest of the West in Egypt and drawing attention to the Pharaonic and Muslim civilizations which had flourished there. It hence served as a turning point in the Western study and perception of Egypt and paved the way for the birth of modern Egyptology.

As a result, the country's daily life, natural history and antiquity had a lasting influence on the arts in Europe and the world.