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Abyssinia, 1867-1868 : Artists on Campaign :…

Abyssinia, 1867-1868 : Artists on Campaign : Watercolors and Drawings from…

by Frederic Alan Sharf

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0972317244, Paperback)

"Although many of the works in this superb publication appeared at the time in the Illustrated London News, for most readers this will be their first opportunity to see them in colour. Indeed, several of the sketches have never before been published in their original form – notably William Simpson’s drawing of Prince Alemayehou, which was executed only a few days after the death of his father, the Emperor Tewedros, and of whom very few images have been handed down to us. Readers are also treated to a number of fascinating tidbits, such as the methods practiced by publishers’ studio staff to enhance landscape sketches with the addition of human figures, and many will be intrigued to learn of the ‘cut and paste’ origins of the graphic cover used to illustrate John Pridham’s musical composition commemorating the battle.

Professors Pankhurst and Northrup are to be congratulated not only for a succinct and readable presentation of the historical background, but for their insight into the relationship between Ethiopia and the outside world prevailing in the mid-19th century. Whereas previous writers have tended to portray events leading up to the ‘Abyssinian difficulty’ through European eyes; the reader can now begin to see them in the Ethiopian context. It is a sad irony that it is only in the 21st century that we begin to see that Tewedros’s cultural values had more in common with the pre-Renaissance world of Prester John than with post-industrial revolution Britain. Clearly the British government’s outrage at the imprisonment of its consul, and Napier’s subsequent refusal to accept anything less than total surrender – even after the release of the prisoners – would not have been anticipated or even understood by an essentially mediæval monarch.

Both Ethiopianists and lovers of military art will be grateful to Frederic Sharf for a unique and important publication." Ian Campbell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:00 -0400)

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