VUE DE LA FONTAINE DES AMANS ET MOSQUE ADJACENTE, (EGYPTE)
Early XIXth century optical view in original watercolors. Original copper plate engraving on laid paper heightened with watercolor at that time. Published by Basset in Paris circa 1820, depicting a view of Cairo - Mosque al-Ghawri - Fountain of the Lovers (Egypt).
During the 18th Century, several renowned establishments in Paris, London (England), Augsburg (Germany) and Bassano (Italy) were specialized in the creation of these optical views. They could be viewed alone or through a zograscope, a wooden foot surmounted by a lens which enlarged the image and accentuated the perspective effect. They could also be placed in optical boxes, the spectator then looked inside the box through the lens. This distraction was greatly appreciated in the 18th Century in the salons of the bourgeoisie and the nobility as in the countryside thanks to the hawkers.
These etchings are nowadays exhibited in museums around the world and extremely appreciated by collectors and decorators for their historical interest and their high decorative value.
Museums & Archives
The Bibliothèque nationale de France owns a copy of this optical view in its collections. For more details on this print please consult the site : Vue de la fontaine des amans et mosque adjacente, (egypte)
Very good state
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The area around present-day Cairo, especially Memphis that was the old capital of Egypt, had long been a focal point of Ancient Egypt due to its strategic location just upstream from the Nile Delta. However, the origins of the modern city are generally traced back to a series of settlements in the first millennium. Around the turn of the 4th century, as Memphis was continuing to decline in importance, the Romans established a fortress town along the east bank of the Nile. This fortress, known as Babylon, was the nucleus of the Roman and then the Byzantine city and is the oldest structure in the city today. It is also situated at the nucleus of the Coptic Orthodox community, which separated from the Roman and Byzantine churches in the late 4th century. Many of Cairo's oldest Coptic churches, including the Hanging Church, are located along the fortress walls in a section of the city known as Coptic Cairo.
Following the Muslim conquest in 640 AD, the conqueror Amr ibn As settled to the north of the Babylon in an area that became known as al-Fustat. Originally a tented camp Fustat became a permanent settlement and the first capital of Islamic Egypt.
In 750, following the overthrow of the Umayyad caliphate by the Abbasids, the new rulers created their own settlement to the northeast of Fustat which became their capital. This was known as al-Askar as it was laid out like a military camp.
A rebellion in 869 by Ahmad ibn Tulun led to the abandonment of Al Askar and the building of another settlement, which became the seat of government. This was al-Qatta'i, to the north of Fustat and closer to the river. Al Qatta'i was centred around a palace and ceremonial mosque, now known as the Mosque of ibn Tulun.
In 905, the Abbasids re-asserted control of the country and their governor returned to Fustat, razing al-Qatta'i to the ground.
The Galerie Napoléon is pleased to propose to you this strong water etching printed 202 years ago (around 1820).
As for all the antique prints in our catalogue, this optical view VUE DE LA FONTAINE DES AMANS ET MOSQUE ADJACENTE, (EGYPTE) datant de 1820 is dispatched worldwide within 24H in a Secured packaging, accompanied by its certificate of authenticity guaranteeing the name of the artists (draughtsman, engraver, editor), the impression process used (Strong water) and its date (1820).
In order to guarantee a perfect conservation in time, this strong water etching is dispatched, ready to be framed, under museum quality color passepartout (manufactured without acid in the pulp for a neutral pH) on a cream mountboard made from carton bois (also acid free & neutral pH), in a luxurious portfolio.
At the apogee of the mode for optical views, between 1750 and 1790, four European cities specialized in their edition: Paris (France), London (England), Augsburg (Germany) and Bassano (Italy).
Optical views are prized in very different social circles : pleasant recreation in aristocratic salons, the views are admired in beautiful and richly decorated optical boxes which are real works of art. The show was transformed into a real scientific experiment. But the optical views also entertained the people who were in a hurry when a hawker set up a box on a market and began to narrate the extraordinary events that had taken place in a more or less distant and inaccessible country.
There are three categories in the production of optical views.
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