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George Alexander Hoskins

A remorseful graffito carving traveller


George Alexander Hoskins: A Winter in Upper and Lower Egypt 1860-61, London 1863.


p. 210 (Valley of the Kings)


Belzoni’s Tomb  is still the most beautiful and the best preserved, but, unfortunately, greatly injured since my first visit, one of the most splendid pictures in it was totally destroyed by a shameful injudicious attempt to transfer it to a royal museum; other paintings are defaced by taking paper impressions of them, and the mania of writing names on the walls destroy the beautiful uncoloured outlines in one of the chambers. I can easily suppose such travellers would write their names on the frescos of Raphael in the Vatican, if there were no custody to prevent them. With the thoughtlessness of a young traveller, I confess, on my first visit to the Nile, (1832-1833)  I wrote my name on one of the colossal statues in the interior of Aboo Simbel, and was greatly annoyed at what I had done when, elsewhere, and especially in this tomb, by the light of my illumination, I saw the destructive effect of an accumulation of such offences, and was really relieved to find on my last visit to the temple that time and decay had completely effaced my only offence of that description. Those who really care for art, and do not wish to have a similar crime on their consciences, would do well to record their visit to the Nile on the rock at the second cataract, on the top of the pyramids, or on such places where it may be done with impunity.





RDK 221 Medined Habu Temple, Small temple, Dynasty  XVIII, un inscribed side room.




p. 258 (Elkab) – The Tomb of Paheri)


The most important little tomb, with its roof cut in the shape of an arch, and his three mutilated divinities in the recess at the end, is much injured, since I copied some of the paintings in it on my first visit up the Nile. Whether this change is owing to paper impressions having been taken of the paintings, or the whole breath of the tomb being open to the air, I cannot say; but it was painful to see the number of English names which now deface the interesting agricultural scene.


p. 339 (Wadi Halfa)


Those who are acquainted with the literature of the Nile will distinguish on these rocks many names familiar to them. Would that other travellers would be content with engraving their names here, and cease to deface the monuments.


I would be grateful to know if somebody has some biographical information about Miles Ponsonby  the travel  companion of Hoskins in 1832. 


Biographical and bibliographical information


George Alexander Hoskins 1802-1863


Travels in Ethiopia, London 1835

A Winter in Upper and Lower Egypt, London 1863

Visit to the Great Oasis of the Libyan Desert, London 1837           


Jaromir Malek, Diana Magee, Elizabeth Miles, The Archive of the Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, 1990-1997, Oxford 1997, p. 4.


Richard Hill, A Biographical Dictionary of the Sudan, London 1967, p. 166-167.

M. L. Bierbrier, Who was Who in Egyptology, London 1995, p. 209.


H. Jolowicz, Bibliotheca Aegyptiaca, Leipzig 1858, p. 29; H. Jolowicz, Bibliotheca Aegyptiaca (Supplement), Leipzig 1861, p. 8; Prince Ibrahim Hilmy, The Literature of Egypt and the Sudan, 2 vol., London 1886-1887, p. 310; Bibliothèque Khédiviale, Catalogue de la section Européenne, I, l’Egypte, Le Caire 1892, p. 79, 99; Martin R. Kalfatovic, Nile Notes of a Howadji,n Metuchen 1992, p. 126, 198; Jean-Marie Carré, Voyageurs et écrivains Français en Egypte, 2 vol., Le Caire 1956, vol., II, p. 154, 166; Louis A. Christophe, Abou Simbel et l’épopée de sa découverte, Bruxelles 1965, p. 103, 104 ; Ahmed Fakhry, The Oases of Egypt, vol., Bahriyh and Farafra Oases, Cairo 1974, p. 90; Peter A. Clayton, The Rediscovery of Ancient Egypt, London 1982, p. 48, pl. 55; Selwyn Tillett, Egypt Itself, The Career of Robert Hay, Esquire of Linplum and Nunraw, 1799-1863, London 1984, p. v, 52-55, 57; Maarten J. Raven, Willem De Famars Testas, Reisschetsen uit Egypte, ’s-Gravenhagen 1988, p. 137; Deborah Manley, The Nile, A traveller’s Anthology, London 1991, p. 30, 198, 207-8, 245; Jason Thompson, Sir Gardner Wilkinson and His Circle, Austin 1992, p. 104, 105, 112;  Gianni Guadalupi, The Discovery of the Nile, Shrewsbury 1997, p. 111, 114, 115, 117; Paul Starkey, Ed, Travellers in Egypt, London 1998, p. 134; John O. Udal, The Nile in Darkness, Norwich 1998, p. 241, 263, 269, 271-3, 286-7; Alberto Siliotti, Egypt Lost and Found, Explorers and Travellers on the Nile, London 1998, p. 14, 320, 322, 330-31; Patricia Usick, Adventures in Egypt and Nubia, The Travels of William John Bankes (1786-1855), London 2002, p. 27.