Impressions of Granada and the Alhambra by Girault De Prangey
This volume is a beautiful reproduction of a portfolio of engravings of the most famous sites of Moorish architecture. Granada - home to the glorious palace of the Alhambra, the haunting ruins of the Vermilion Towers, the verdant gardens of the Generalife - captures the imagination today just as it did 150 years ago. Some of de Prangey's engravings show grand panoramas of the city against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Others are record drawings of the most intricate architectural details. These are complemented with many engravings of palace courtyards, bath-houses and patio houses, in which people in full Spanish dress give a vivid impression of the period. In addition, cross-sections, plans and elevations give detailed and accurate information about the Alhambra complex. Philibert Joseph Girault de Prangey (1804-93) was a French orientalist who devoted a great deal of time to studying the monuments of Moorish Spain and of the Near East and the Levant. Several collections of his colour lithographs were published, and he exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1836. The detailed record drawings of ornamentation, alternating with more atmospheric views of the city of Granada and the vistas of the Alhambra, captured the imagination of orientalists across Europe. de Prangey's works became well-known in Victorian England and were known to be held in the collection of Owen Jones. This collection of lithographs was first published in 1837, a time when the technical processes of colour printing were being pioneered. The original portfolio would thus have been a revelation to those who had previously experienced the wonders of Moorish architecture only through monochrome engravings. The publication of his portfolio Souvenirs de Grenade et de l'Alhambra in a modern book form is accompanied by a translation of de Prangey's original text and a new introduction by Dr John Sweetman. Readers today will be able to recapture both the sights of Granada in 1832 and to appreciate the romantic impression they made on the northern European visitors of the time.