Ancient Egypt at the State Library of Victoria
A group of members and friends of the Institute recently visited the State Library of Victoria to view some significant and rare publications that document ancient Egyptian antiquities. Some of the group are pictured looking at volume 2 of Description de l'Egypte, published in 1809-27. It is open at the page with a drawing of the ancient Egyptian king who was at the time of publication called Ozymandais and is now known to be Rameses II. Earlier in the year Professor Toby Wilkinson spoke to the Institute on the significance of the tradition of Ozymandais and the beginning of Egyptology.
Other books viewed included F.L. Norden, Travels in Egypt and Nubia, (London: Lockyer Davis and Charles Reymers, 1757), G.B. Belzoni, Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries …. (London: John Murray, 1820) and K.R. Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, (Leipzig: Heinrichs, 1849-59). The Description and the Denkmäler series are some of the largest books ever published, they are rare and expensive. The books by Norden and Belzoni were a surprise because of the high-quality drawings of Egyptian antiquities that they also contained.
Librarians Des Cowley and Anna Welch hosted the event. Des explained how between 1855-80 Sir Redmond Barry, the first Chancellor of the University of Melbourne and the president of the trustees of the State Library of Victoria oversaw the procurement of an important library collection including many books on Egyptology.
Viewing the Description de l'Egypte, vol 2 (1818) and the image of Ozymandais
Abu Simbel as discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 1817. From Belzoni (1820)