Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce, Tome 2
The book Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce, Tome 2 is the continuation of one of the most important touring books on Greece. It features images from the 2nd trip of French historian, philosopher and printmaker Choiseul-Gouffier to Ottoman-occupied Greece. In this trip, Gouffier visited Asia Minor, the Northern Aegean Sea and the islands of Imbros and Tenedos.
External appearance and illustrations
The book Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce, Tome 2 is 33 cm (width) x 51 cm (height).
It is illustrated with paintings by French painter Jean-Baptiste Hilaire. It includes a significant number of chalcography prints, accompanied by explanatory comments. Along with the 1st volume, the book includes 285 paintings in total.
A picturesque trip to Greece
In 1776 and 1785, French historian, philosopher and printmaker Choiseul-Gouffier toured Ottoman-occupied Greece and the coastlines of Asia Minor. He was then able to transfer his travel experiences to the 2 volumes of his book.
The book captures, with texts and images:
- Archaeological sites, castles and temples in Greece and Asia Minor.
- Maps and diagrams.
- Customs of the people and local clothing.
- Natural and astronomical phenomena.
The 2nd trip to Ottoman-occupied Greece
The 2nd volume captures Choiseul-Gouffier’s 2nd trip to the East, in 1785, and his appointment as an ambassador at the Sublime Porte.
In this trip, Gouffier visited Asia Minor, the Northern Aegean Sea, Smyrna, Pergamos, Samothrace, Troy and the area of Crimea.
The volume comprises 2 parts and includes valuable archaeological, historic and geographic material. Dozens of archaeologists, philologists, painters and scientists of different disciplines accompanied the expedition. They collected the material through copious and long investigations in continental and insular Greece.
Gouffier’s 1st trip is included in the 1st volume of the book. The incomplete 3rd volume was published many years after the author’s death. It included topographical plans, monuments and coins of Troy.
A point of reference for the touring literature
The book Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce is the most well-documented study and recording of the Greek territory in the 18th century. It is based on texts from ancient historians and poets, but mainly on the field research of the author. This important book was a landmark in the evolution of touring literature, influencing all subsequent publications.
The subjects of the prints were copied in other travel books. The illustrations, especially those of insular Greece, are still considered very representative. They offer a vivid image of the Greek landscapes and their people.
Choiseul-Gouffier was rightfully honoured for his work by the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. After all, this book was his life’s work.
A versatile writer
Besides being a historian, Choiseul-Gouffier was one of the most competent diplomats of the French Empire.
As an ambassador of Louis XVI, he accomplished an important achievement: At the end of the long-lasting friendship between France and the Ottoman Empire, he succeeded in adding 10 articles to the Capitulations, i.e. the agreements that regulated French shipping in the Black Sea.
The Greek-speaking Hotel
In 1809, the year when the 2nd volume was published, Choiseul-Gouffier is believed to have been the head or a member of the Greek-speaking Hotel (Ellinoglosso Xenodocheio) which was also founded in 1809. This was one of the most important secret organisations supporting Hellenicity, before the founding of The Society of Friends (Filiki Etaireia).
One of the purposes of the Greek-speaking Hotel was to spiritually revive and enlighten the Greeks, and prepare them for their uprise against the Ottomans. Other than Choiseul-Gouffier, a notable member of the Greek-speaking Hotel was Athanasios Tsakalov, one of the founders of the Society of Friends.