William Godwin's Diary


Godwin's entry refers to two exhibitions which he probably saw on the same day.

Belzoni’s Tomb originally opened in 1821 as an expensive and elaborate historical reconstruction of the royal Egyptian sepulchre discovered by Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778–1823) in Thebes, Upper Egypt. Facsimiles of Egyptian artifacts rarely seen previously in London were cast in plaster from wax impressions taken on-site and were displayed alongside Belzoni’s drawings from the excavation. The exhibition was generally well-received by the press and public, and was responsible for spreading interest in both ancient Egypt and archeology. After the death of Belzoni in 1823, his colleague, a Mr. Curtin, took over the direction.

See the Examiner, 27 March 1825 and Richard D. Altick, The Shows of London (Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1978).

John Martin’s The Creation was shown at the second annual exhibition of the society of British Artists at Suffolk-street, Pall-mall East in a suite of rooms. Of the seven hundred and twenty-one pieces in the exhibition, The Morning Chronicle singled out Martin’s picture among the comparatively small group of objects they chose to review. The work depicts God’s creation of light from Genesis 1:1 - 1:14 and was highly lauded as one of Martin’s finest efforts in terms of colouring, spatial conception, content, and material handling.

See the Morning Chronicle, 26 March 1825 and The Creation at the Georgetown University Art Collection Exhibition , Revealing the Light: Mezzotint Engravings at Georgetown University March 31, 2008 – July 31, 2008.