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Bernardino Drovetti (ca. 1815)

Drawing of Bernardino Drovetti, ca. 1815 (from engraving by Amster, after original by Gau).

The Italian Bernardino Drovetti (1776-1852), who had served with distinction in Napolean's army as aide de camp under General Murat, later was appointed French consul general to Egypt in Alexandria (1807-1814, and 1820-1826).

 Drovetti, often through intermediaries, periodically engaged in searches for antiquities in Egypt. This included an 1816 expedition to upper Egypt and Nubia which provided one of the earliest descriptions of Abu Simbel, and an expedition in 1818 with the French Director of antiquities. Drovetti's activites in Egyptian archaeology, sometimes in competition with those of Belzoni,  are set forth in a 1976 book by Brian Fagan, The Rape of the Nile.

As an advisor to the Pasha of Egypt, meanwhile, Drovetti had considerable influence in the Egypt of his day, which saw some ongoing attempts at modernization with French assistance.


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