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Egypt in Focus
2 x Sunday Afternoons 17th and 24th September
Times: 2-5pm (UK Times) to join live.
We love to see you for the live lectures, but if you have to miss one, don't worry, you can of course catch up (or watch again) at your leisure via the recordings. You will have access to the recorded lectures for a whole month after the last live lecture. Recordings will be available until 24th October.
This course will look at how Egypt has been presented in photographs from the earliest images in Egypt, themselves often influenced by pictures made by painters such as David Roberts (1796-1864), through to the First World War. The first session will look at some of the earliest photographs of Egypt taken by visitors and by early travellers.
Our second session will focus on Orientalism and stereo (3D) photography especially two series of 100 views produced by the Underwood brothers and supported – in the case of the later set – by the eminent Egyptologist James Henry Breasted (1865-1935). These images, which sadly we have to view in 2D here, give a lively snapshop of the people of Egypt at the turn of the 19th into the 20th century. We will also look at some postcards of the time and compare the views seen by their photographers with those of more recent times.
The third session will focus on a rare collection of glass lantern slides taken around 1910 and which make up a tour of Egypt and the Holy Land. It is rare for ‘sets’ of slides to survive and by looking at the set as a whole we gain an interesting picture of early tourism in the Middle East.
The final session looks at photographs taken by service personnel during the First World War in Egypt and Palestine. These personnel can be regarded as ‘enforced tourists’ and many of them used their leisure time to visit the monuments of Egypt and Palestine, some even became amateur Egyptologists. Their pictures now form a valuable archive showing the monuments as they were before modern restoration. They also record the materiel of warfare in Egypt during the period.
Overall, the course will give some impression of how Egypt has changed over the last 150 years or so as well as how perceptions of Egypt and its people have been constructed and changed over that period. Archaeology and Egyptology are, in part, pictorial subjects and photography has become a fundamental part of how we perceive those disciplines and the places they study.
Professor Paul Nicholson
Paul T. Nicholson is a professor of archaeology at Cardiff University where he specialises in Egyptian archaeology and early technology. He has excavated in Egypt since 1983, first as a member of the Amarna expedition where he subsequently directed his own work culminating in Brilliant Things for Akhenaten (2007) and at Memphis and Saqqara as well as being involved in work at a variety of other sites in Egypt including the South Assasif, Berenike and Hatnub. The work he directed at Memphis is published as Working in Memphis (2013). He has also edited (with Professor Ian Shaw) and part written Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries (2000). The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt was also co-written with Professor Shaw (1995/2008). His recent work at Saqqara The Catacombs of Anubis at North Saqqara: an archaeological perspective has just been published (2021) by Peeters/British Museum.
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Session links will be available in the course Classroom. Room opens 30 minutes before the lecture begins. If you do not have the course link or have any other queries please get in touch.