Paintings of Libyan cities between 1860 and 1861

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Between 1860 and 1861, Captain Murdoch Smith and lieutenant E.Porcher, two officers in the British Royal Navy embarked on a journey with many goals some of which were questionable. Their guide, the famous Mohamed Eladouli, escorted them and they visited a lot of Libyan cities, however they remained in Shahhat for long months excavating Greek ruins there. A long period during which they did great archaeological work; excavating, documenting and researching. However, they later looted a large amount of artefacts, sculptures and statues and transported them to Britain. They remained exhibited in the British Museum till today. In this context says Dr.Khaled El-Haddar:

They stayed in Shahhat for about ten months to obtain the ancient sculptures to provide them to the British Museum, and indeed they were able to obtain over 14  sculptures that were transported alongside another set of antique collectables on the British frigate called Melpomene, which left Soussa’s harbour with its  load of antiquities with Smith and Porcher on 14/10/1861 and arrived in Malta on the 17th of the same month and then loaded its cargo onto her Majesty’s ship named H.M.S Supply  which transported it to Britain to make its way into the British Museum arriving in November of that year

Apart from this, Porcher and Smith produced an important book which included their journey and observations in Libyan cities, containing a lot of information they learned while researching Shahhat’s ruins in particular. In addition to this, they produced rare and unique pictures and paintings of the Libyan cities they visited between 1860 and 1861, and the book was published in 1864 titled ‘History of Recent Discoveries at Cyrene’. These are some of the pictures they painted.

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Tripoli 1860 – A general view of the city’s beaches

 

بنغازي

Benghazi 1860 – A general view of the city’s beaches

 

طلميثة

Tolmeitah1860 – A view of one of the ancient tombs near the city

قصر المقدم

A painting of the Gusr Biligadem Fortress, a large defensive fort built by the Romans near Wadi Al-Kuf containing windows and watchtowers

درنة

Derna – A view of the coastal city surrounded by valleys and mountains in 1861

شحاتت

Painting 1 of ancient sites in Shahat (Cyrene) between 1860 and 1861, the area in which they stayed for a long period lasting 10 months

 

شحـات

Painting 2 of ancient sites in Shahat (Cyrene) between 1860 and 1861, the area in which they stayed for a long period lasting 10 months

 

شحات

Painting 3 of ancient sites in Shahat (Cyrene) between 1860 and 1861, the area in which they stayed for a long period lasting 10 months

 

شحات 11

Painting 4 of ancient sites in Shahat (Cyrene) between 1860 and 1861, the area in which they stayed for a long period lasting 10 months

Sources:

  • History of Recent Discoveries at Cyrene, R.M.Smith, E.A Porcher
  • Our Antiques at the British Museum, Khaled El-Haddar
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