Travel and Exploration
BELZONI (GIOVANNI BATTISTA)
Autograph drawing of the Pyramid of Chephren (Khafre) at Giza, showing the point at which Belzoni entered and the passageways, inscribed below in ink Aperta li 2 Marzo 1818. da G. Belzoni Romano, with two notes on provenance on the reverse, the first stating that it was given par Mons Belzoni lui meme to Chevalier Moriani while travelling together from Cairo to Alexandra in April 1818, the second signed by Moriani, presenting the drawing to Dr Fleming, Dresden, 22 September 1828, one page, oblong 8vo (155 by 205 mm.), minor foxing, guard, printed identification slip, [March or April] 1818; together with two letters by Sarah Belzoni, the first expressing anxiety about her husband, the second tending thanks for an epitaph composed to the memory of my expired Belzoni, three pages, 4to and 8vo, printed identification slip, guard, November 1822 and August 1825
Belzoni ex-monk, actor, strongman, engineer, traveller and archaeologist was dubbed by Howard Carter one of the most remarkable men in the history of archaeology and has in our own day been compared (inevitably) with Indiana Jones. He was the first person in modern times to enter the Pyramid of Chephren, the second of the three great pyramids at Giza, where his inscription can still be seen in the burial chamber: Scoperta da G. Belzoni. 2. Mar. 1818. His wife, Sarah, was an Englishwoman who contributed Mrs Belzoni´s Account of Women in Egypt, Nubia and Syria´ to his Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia (1820), generally regarded as the first English work of Egyptology and described by Carter as the most fascinating book ever written about Egypt.