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William de Wiveleslie Abney
Title page for Captain W. de W. Abney "Thebes and its Five Greater Temples" (London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1876)
[Thebes and its Five Greater Temples]
University of Heidelberg - University Library
Creative Commons, http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/abney1876/0002
Sent out by the English Government to observe the late transit of Venus, it was decided that the Author, with a party of three men of the Royal Engineers, should be detached from the head-quarters of the Egyptian Expedition located at Cairo, under Captain Orde Browne (late) R.A., and proceed to Thebes, to undertake the photographic work necessary for recording the different phases of the phenomenon. Accompanied by Colonel Campbell, of Blythswood, and party, whose mission was that of visually observing the transit from the same locality, the detachment arrived at their destination early in November, 1874. Their stay was necessarily one of comparatively long duration, and in the intervals of leisure, excursions were made to the different places of interest with which they were surrounded. The camera was a never-failing source of amusement to all, and the sun pictures obtained in a climate which at that time of year was very oppressive, whiled away many an hour which might have been less profitably spent.
The apology that the Author has to offer for publishing these sun pictures is that, perhaps, some who have visited Theban ground may like to recall the scenes which must have impressed them with wonderment, and that others to whom Egypt is a terra incognita may gain an idea, though of necessity imperfect, of the marvellous architectural creations of a race whose early history is as yet shrouded in obscurity.
The information comprised in the descriptive text has been largely taken from the works of Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Belzoni, Fergusson, and other authorities on Egyptology.
The best thanks of the Author are due to Corporals Laffeaty, Milne, and Farr, of the Royal Engineers, for the never-failing aid they rendered him whilst photographing the different scenes of interest in Egypt, without such co-operation the task now accomplished would have been doubly difficult.
15th May, 1876.