Narrative, Aesthetic, and Cartographic Space around 1850

The Three Palestines of Charles William Meredith van de Velde

Beth Shean. Lithography by C. W. M. van de Velde from the album "Le Pays d'Israel", 1857 (detail)

The explorative unveiling of the earth in the 19th century called for a translation of these foreign worlds into a form that western audiences could digest. My research project asks how images of foreign space and place were created and communicated in this early globalization process. Image, in this context, first and foremost refers to any kind of representation, with a focus on its form. In my previous research, it has become apparent that the purport of the European depictions of foreign lands not only depended on their author, their cultural background and the region depicted, but to a great extent also on the form the foreign experience was represented in.

This can be studied paradigmatically in the case of the Dutch explorer C. W. M. van de Velde who published his Palestine travels in the mid-19th century in a travel narrative, a map, and a lithography album alike. The Palestine images presented in each of these deviate greatly, at times even contradicting each other. This work by the same author, based on the same travels and representing the same region in three different forms, offers the chance to identify and reconstruct the inherent logic of these three: image, in the narrower sense of the word as pictorial representation; text; and map. What does only the map show, what do the lithographs conceal, what is stressed in the narrative? And what does this tell us about the way that western depictions of foreign regions were constructed in the 19th century, in this case the Holy Land, heavy with meaning? A special focus will be on the map, the representative form of the three that has been researched into the least, yet was widely considered the most scientific in the period in question. 


Faehndrich, Jutta  (2017): The land and the map: C. W. M. van de Velde's map of the Holy Land. In: Goren, Hayim: Mapping the holy land: the foundation of a scientific cartography of Palestine / Haim Goren, Jutta Faehndrich and Bruno Schelhaas with Petra Weigel. London, New York: I.B. Tauris (Tauris historical geography series; 11), p. 55-106

Goren, Hayim / Faehndrich, Jutta / Schelhaas, Bruno / Weigel, Petra (Mitarb.) (2017): Mapping the holy land: the foundation of a scientific cartography of Palestine. London, New York: I.B. Tauris. xi, 192 pp (Tauris historical geography series; 11)

Project information

Project team

Jutta Faehndrich



Duration of project

05/2016 – 20/2020

Funded by

German Research Foundation

Further information

Dr Jutta Faehndrich
Tel. +49 342 600 55-257


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