Lead Review

  • Book: Egyptian Places
  • Location: Egypt
  • Author: Henry David Ayon

Review Author: Tina Hartas

Location

Content

The author describes his various visits to 12 important sites across Egypt and complements his narrative with exquisitely detailed drawings (coloured drawings and sepia variations). He starts out at Saqqara and Memphis and then progresses along the familiar route of explorers, ending up at Abu Simbel.

He describes the experiences of visiting each of the 12 sites in great detail, right down to the kiosks and the rubbish he inevitably encounters. He naturally conveys the sense of majesty and ingenuity of the ancient Egyptians, and he ponders that the names of the talented, master architects behind many of the amazing creations, were  generally never really recorded for posterity. The temples and pyramids at Giza, he notes, were “among the largest and most difficult construction efforts of all time…

This travelogue is clearly brought together by an architect. The images for the most part have very clean, defined lines, much as you anticipate seeing in an architect’s office. He adds a few looser sketches too but the majority are skilled precision drawings.

The writing alongside the images is quite formal, sometimes overwritten and complex, that can make this feel like quite a dry tome. I kept batting away the ‘dry and papery’ image of an ancient papyrus leaf as I was reading. For me this was an author pulling together personal memories of a trip that will be pungent and colourful in his mind but somehow became a little desiccated and wooden when they were transposed onto the written page. The character of the author doesn’t really come through and thus this feels more like a cataloguing exercise than a personal travelogue.

However, this is a great book for anyone who is interested in the detail of Ancient Egypt. As always with books published by Oro Editions, the book is beautifully produced.

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