Westcar on the Nile
In November 1823 a young English gentleman, by the name of Henry Westcar, landed in Alexandria to discover the glory of ancient Egypt. He was neither an archaeologist, nor of famous stock, but only one more member of the English gentry taking the Grand Tour. His name might have easily fallen into oblivion, would it not have been connected to one of the most famous ancient Egyptian literary papyri: the papyrus Westcar. Most probably it was acquired by him on occasion of his trip up the Nile as far as the second cataract and back. But Westcar’s voyage is remarkable not only for the probable purchase of the famous papyrus. In Egypt he became eyewitness of a revolution against the ruling pasha. His diary is one of the main sources to supply information about the rebellion that rose in Upper Egypt, as well as the means taken by the pasha and his army to quell it. Westcar and his three fellow travellers, all of them promising young architects, suddenly found their trip, which was started to explore the temples and tombs of the pharaohs, change into a flight downriver to escape the rebellion.
For the first time the entire travelogue of Henry Westcar is published, together with an overview of the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha as well as an appendix in which the ownership of the papyrus Westcar is discussed. The text is elaborately illustrated not only with photos but also with sketches and drawings, the latter ones whenever possible executed by Westcar’s companions or artists travelling in the same period of time. Almost 200 years after Henry Westcar has returned from his trip to the Nile, his diary is finally published.