Physical description: Quarto (240 by 195mm) title in facsimile, 3ff., 181 (but 180)pp. with 49 engraved plates in text, contemporary full calf, spine in six compartmennts separated by raised bands, some loss to head and foot, skilfully repaired.
Inventory reference: 1657
An attractive copy of Beauvau’s 1605 expedition through Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Palestine and Egypt, one of the most substantially illustrated French travelogues of the first half of the seventeenth century relating to the Near East. Of special note is Beauvau’s use of cartographic illustration suggestive of the Italian isolarios of the period: the 49 maps and views of Aegean islands, etc., engraved in the manner of Bertelli and Camocio, remind us that at this early date France did not as yet have a very well developed cartographic style, forcing publishers to look for models elsewhere—namely Italy, where the Italians had been publishing isolarios for more than a century. The plates, however, were engraved by a Frenchman, Jean Appier Hanzelet, of Lorraine, a very good engraver who is best known for his book on pyrotechnics with memorable illustrations in a kindred style.Beauvau describes many religious landmarks and holy sites (this edition includes floor plans of the more important churches in Jerusalem) as well as providing details on peoples of various faiths he encountered during his travels. Mentioned in the Relation are a number of legendary boulders and stones in Palestine which bear curious markings, allegedly the imprints of the bodies of three apostles on stones in the Garden of Gethsemane and of St. Jerome’s body in the desert (p. 148).Henri de Beauvau, a soldier and diplomat, fought the Turks in Hungary first in the service of Emperor Rudolph III, and then under the elector of Bavaria. He embarked upon this journey in 1605, regarding it as a diplomatic venture rather than a pilgrimage. The work first appeared without illustrations in an octavo format in 1608. The first illustrated edition was published in 1615, by Garnich. It is clear from the text that the illustrations were specifically engraved for the work and thus the Garnich editions are traditionally considered the most complete.