S & J Abbott Ceramics Plus

© S and J Abbott Ceramics Plus January 2021

Siege de la Colonne de Pompee-Science in the pillory. A print by James Gillray, It is lettered with title, artist's name and publication line 'Etched by Js Gillray, from the Original Intercepted Drawings/London.Publish'd March 6th 1799. by H. Humphrey, 27 St James's Street.' In a period frame, size 50 x 41.5 cm Turks and Bedouins besiege the base of a tall Corinthian column, On the small platform eight Frenchmen are crowded together; one, with wings attached to his shoulders and arms, steps into the void, stretching out his arms to a balloon, already wrecked by musket-fire. Their commander (most likely Bonaparte), wears a large plumed cocked hat and an order, he shouts to the besiegers, holding up a placard 'Vive Mahomet Qui protegoit les Sciences'. A man kneeling beside him clasps him in terror; from his pocket issues a paper: 'Projet pour Bruler la Mecque'. A stout man (left) is about to hurl down a celestial globe and a scientific instrument; another prepares to fling a large book: 'Le Ciel Revolutionné ou les Constellations Sans-culottisés'. A lean fanatic is about to commit suicide: he holds up a bottle labelled 'Tone', and clasps another labelled 'Louvet Opium'; in his belt are weapons inscribed 'Romme' and 'Roland' (all of whom excepting Louvet killed themselves). A terrified face bites a book inscribed 'Savary'. A thin scholar (right) wearing a skull-cap is perhaps Monge. A ninth man falls from the summit (left); from his pocket issues a paper: 'Projet pour rendre les Hommes Immortels'. A stork (left) flies upwards from the column. Two scientific instruments (one electric) and six books fall from the column: 'Ebauche d'un Systeme de Législation pour une Colonie d Anthropophages' ; 'Traité sur la Guillotine par un Théophilanthrope'; 'Sur le Reedification de la Tour de Babel'; 'Encyclopédie Edit: de Paris Vol: LX.'; 'Tableau de Logarithms'. The lowest, 'Projet de Fraternisation avec les Bedouins', hits a Bedouin and strikes him to the ground. On the ground is 'Le Contrat Social'. The besiegers fire at the Frenchmen or hold up their spears waiting for them to fall. One fires at an exploding balloon (right), 'La Diligence d'Abissynie' from which the (tricolour) boat has already fallen. One of the occupants falls head first towards the spears below; another descends by a parachute which has been traversed by the shot at the balloon; he is about to be transfixed by an arrow. Falling books are 'Les Ruines par le Cit: Volney'; 'Traité sur la Velocité des Corps Descendans'; and 'Theorie de l'Aerostation'. In the foreground right two fat Turks sit impassively back to back on a camel which gazes upwards; they are confident and incurious; one smokes reflectively. Arabs and Africans are in violent motion, some firing, others with spears. Behind (left) men gallop up on asses. A man (left) looks up through the wrong end of a telescope. In the background are pyramids. Below the title, in four columns is printed: 'It appears by an Intercepted Letter from General Kleber, dated "Alexandria, 5 Frimaire, 7th Year of the Republic" [27 Nov. 1798], that, when his Garrison was obliged to retire into the New-Town at the approach of the Turkish Army under the Pasha of Rhodes, a party of the Scavans, who had ascended Pompey's Pillar for Scientific Purposes were cut off by a Band of Bedouin Arabs, who having made a large Pile of Straw and dry Reeds at the foot of the Pillar, set Fire to it, and rendered unavailing the gallant Defence of the learned Garrison, of whose Catastrophe the above Design is intended to convey an idea. - To study Alexandria's store Of Science, Amru deem'd a bore; And, briefly, set it burning. The Man was Ignorant, 'tis true, So sought one comprehensive view Of the Light shed by Learning, Your modern Arabs, grown more wise, French vagrant Science duly prize; They've fairly bit the biters. They've learnt the style of Hebert's Jokes; Amru to Books confin'd his Hoax; These Bedouins roast the Writers.' 6 March 1799 Stock No SAP0951 Price £900
Print of the Month
For January 2021 we feature a hand coloured etching from 1799 giving an English view of a difficulty Napoleon was having in Egypt. It is not sympathetic to the French but is full of incident of conflicting cultural ideas of the period.
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S & J Abbott Ceramics Plus
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© S and J Abbott Ceramics Plus January 2021

Print of the Month
Return to Prints Home Return to Prints Home
For January 2021 we feature a hand coloured etching from 1799 giving an English view of a difficulty Napoleon was having in Egypt. It is not sympathetic to the French but is full of incident of conflicting cultural ideas of the period.
Siege de la Colonne de Pompee-Science in the pillory. A print by James Gillray, It is lettered with title, artist's name and publication line 'Etched by Js Gillray, from the Original Intercepted Drawings/London.Publish'd March 6th 1799. by H. Humphrey, 27 St James's Street.' In a period frame, size 50 x 41.5 cm Stock No SAP0951 Price £900