Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Print - A view of the Sphinx at the Pyramids at Gizeh, a Patera, charged with the portraits of Osiris and Isis, and Sculptures of Egyptian Musicians, Pompey's or Dioclesian's Pillar, and Cleopatra's Needle
  • A view of the Sphinx at the Pyramids at Gizeh, a Patera, charged with the portraits of Osiris and Isis, and Sculptures of Egyptian Musicians, Pompey's or Dioclesian's Pillar, and Cleopatra's Needle
    Denon, Dominique Vivant Baron, born 1747 - died 1825
  • Enlarge image

A view of the Sphinx at the Pyramids at Gizeh, a Patera, charged with the portraits of Osiris and Isis, and Sculptures of Egyptian Musicians, Pompey's or Dioclesian's Pillar, and Cleopatra's Needle

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    France (published)

  • Date:

    1802 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Denon, Dominique Vivant Baron, born 1747 - died 1825 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-coloured etching

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, Shell International and the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:

    SP.208A

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case 88, shelf SC, box 49

This plate is from Description de l‘Egypte, an ambitious work published in stages between 1809 in and1828 in 23 volumes, and featuring more than 837 engravings. The engraving is based on sketches made by the artist and diplomat Dominique Vivant, Baron de Denon (1747-1825) who travelled with Napoleon’s army in Egypt in 1798. While Napoleon campaigned in Lower Egypt, Denon accompanied General Louis Desaix (1768-1800) through Upper Egypt in a campaign against the Mamluk leader Murad Bey.

When General-in-chief Napolean Bonaparte (1769-1821) set off for a campaign in Egypt, he took more than 150 engineers, scientists, cartographers, surveyors, architects, linguists, forming a Commission des Sciences et Arts d’Égypte, to record and study Egypt’s topography, plant and animal life, minerals, and industry. Denon's sketches of Luxor, Karnac, Dendera, Thebes, Esna, Edfu, and Philae promted Napoleon to instruct two teams of people to complete the project. The result of their work was eventually published in the Description de l‘Egypte. Meanwhile Denon also used his illustrations in his earlier book Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte, published in 1802.

Denon’s artwork and the resulting publications sparked a renewal of interest in the Egyptian arts and Egyptian motifs featured in French architecture and the decorative arts.

Physical description

Page showing the head of the Sphinx at Gizeh in the ground, on which European men are climbing. This image is surrounded by representations of other momuments including in the centre a patera with fern, a papyrus flower and grape-vine decorations and depicting the heads of Osiris and Isis, four birds in flight, and across the top images of sculptures of three Egyptian Musicians playing stringed instruments, and lower left and right Diocletian's Monument (Pompey's Pillar) and Cleopatra's Needle.

Place of Origin

France (published)

Date

1802 (published)

Artist/maker

Denon, Dominique Vivant Baron, born 1747 - died 1825 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-coloured etching

Marks and inscriptions

A view of the Sphinx at the Pyramids at Gizeh; a Patera, charged with the Portraits of Osiris and Isis, and Sculptures of Egyptian Musicians. Pompey's or Dioclesian's Pillar; and Cleopatra's Needle.
Lettered below image

Denon del.
Lettered below image, left

I. Pafs sculp.
Lettered below image, right

London Published as the Act directs July 18th. 1804 by J. Wilkes.
Lettered bottom centre

Dimensions

Height: 26.7 cm, Width: 20.3 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Purchased from Mr. Rodney Searight, 1985. Nominal file number MA/1/S1039

Description taken from Searight Catalogue.
Dominique Vivant Denon, Baron (1747-1825) was a leading French Egyptologist, artist, diplomat, author and antiquary. Courtier at Versailles he held various diplomatic posts. He went to Egypt during the Napoleonic Campaign in 1798-9 and published 'Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Égypte' in 1802 and his drawings were also published in 'Description de L'Égypte' in 1809-22.
J Nowinsky 'Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825): Hedonist and Sholar in a Period of Transition' (Cranbury, New Jersey, 1970. and NGI, 'The East', 1988.

Descriptive line

Etching coloured by hand, engraved by I. Pafs after Denon, entitled 'A view of the Sphinx at the Pyramids at Gizeh ... and Cleopatra's Needle'. London, published by J Wilkes, 1804.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Commission des sciences et arts d'Egypte. Description de l'Égypte, ou, Recueil de observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'éxpédition de l'armée française. Paris, Imprimerie impériale, 1809-28.
Denon, Vivant, 1747-1825. Voyage dans le Basse et la Haute Égypte, pendant les Campagnes du Gënéral Bonaparte. Paris, P. Didot, [1802].
Dominique-Vivant Denon : l'oeil de Napoléon. [Paris] : Réunion des musées nationaux, 1999.

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Etching; Printing

Subjects depicted

Grape-vine; Pillar; Landscape; Cleopatra's Needle; Musical instruments; Musicians; Hieroglyphics; Birds; Sphinx

Categories

Prints; Colonialism and Empire; Archaeology

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.