The "Journals" of Flinders Petrie
October 3, 1881 to May 8, 1882
232 pages

Scans and transcripts of diaries
kept by Petrie during his travels and excavations in Egypt,
now in the Archive of the Griffith Institute

This file has not yet been completed and transcripts are still being added

Concept, direction and editing: Jaromir Malek
Transcript: Cat Warsi
Scanning and picture editing: Jenni Navratil
Coordination: Elizabeth Fleming

Page 1 (October 3 to October 4, 1881)

Monday 3rd Octr Left Bromley by 7.2; got to Cannon St in good time; there not being any 2nd class on the part of the train there, I was put in 1st. In Dover by 9.35; steamer started about 10. It was very fine, but a chopping sea; many passengers turned bad at once. Held out for some time, & then tried the Nitrite of Amyl; I suppose I waited too long, for it did not save me. Happily my breakfast was safely beyond resignation. I found the Amyl soon gave me a light headache through the temples, which passed off a few minutes after smelling it; and after a short time it became very nauseous to me. We did not leave Calais before 1, & reached Paris half an hour late; 1 out of 9 in the compartment were English speaking; but 2 or 3 of them Americans: two brothers going to Geneva not knowing anything of French, or even of the coinage. I drove to the Hotel Brittanique; it is a half boarding house place; no ground floor, not very large dining & sitting rooms, & 5 stories of bedrooms. Charge 6 to 1½ fr per room, breakfast dinner & service 5fr. I had a top room for 1fr on the 5ème. All the visitors were English, & the propriestresses are Perret & Scott. Got to bed by 8½.

Tuesday 4th After breakfast out to Louvre; found it not open till 10, as I was told, the 9 o'clock opening ceasing 4 days ago for the winter. So I skimmed about the neighbourhood, past the picturesque reddened & blackened ruins of the Milleries, & on returning at 10 found that the Egyptian Department was not open till 11. So I spent an hour on the statuary. The polylith statues (porphyry etc) are curious but not first rate. The Roman statues & busts are a large collection, but I rather doubt some of the attestations; and one is irritated by the great quantity of restorations; so frequent are they that nearly every label has a long list of them, which one needs to read through before one can begin to consider the statue. Everything - chronology, subject, & style is made subservient to effect & appearance. It's all very fine to stare at, but for study it is spoilt. The Venus of Milo I

Page 2 (October 4 contd. to October 5, 1881)

was much disappointed in, anyone of the Olympia statues is far finer I think. I had a glance at the paintings; but I had seen a catalogue & found that they were very poor in early Italian; not a single Masaccio or Boticelli & few Bellini's. I got into the Egyptian dept as soon as it was open. Here again effect is everything, & figures of every period all jumbled together, so that it is impossible to find what one wants. The most striking thing is the very fine work of a granite colossus & a diorite half size of Sebekhotep III of XIIIth dyn; they are far more refined & lifelike than the later XVIIIth & XIXth works, & more slender & beautiful than most of the early works; yet that period usually seems to be very poor & rude. I also examined carefully the small articles, bronzes etc. There is a very rich & well arranged collection, which being of small articles is not spoilt by scattering them for effect. Yet I could not find a duplicate of some of the things that I have. Then had 20 min. in the Asiatic antiquities, & out by 1.0. Had lunch at a restaurant which supplies soup, meat, fish or vegetables, & fruit (& wine) for 1.60; very good & clean. Back to hotel, got my things & settled; & then took 'bus (.15) to the Lyon station. Could not get a corner seat, being rather late (10 m before time). Wrote thus far in the train. We had an officer, a soldier, a southern farmer with a huge dark face, which he tied up in a spotted handkerchief to sleep, & some other folks in & out; a party got out, & so I got a corner. We went on tolerably till Lyon, & there we stuck owing to bad - or no - arrangements for a body of soldiers. In all we waited an hour beyond time there. The consequence was our succeeding stoppages began when they should have ceased, & all was uncertain as to how long we might stop anywhere. I had

Wednesday 5th Oct
reckoned on breakfast in an hour's wait at Bourg; but there we did not stop for more than ¼ hr, & as I was told it was only to be for 2 or 3 mins, I got nothing.

Page 3 (October 5, 1881 contd.)

At Amberieu the interminable flatness of the preceding country begins to yield to the hills; & from there on to Culoz it is very fine. Rocky hills about 500ft high, often precipitous, & covered wherever possible with vineyards. In most parts the ascent was 1 in 100 sometimes 1 in 30. Just after Culoz we wound around a beautiful little lake (Bourget) about a mile & ½ across & 12 long. I got some pears & bread at Culoz & breakfasted in the train. We changed at Macon & Culoz. Then we went up the valleys of the Bere & the Arc, the hills becoming more & more mountainous, until they received the final seal of respectability by snowy tops. The train was very slow though with two engines, so one had time to take in the splendid views of the mountainous road. It was curious to see how sharply defined the snow line was, the height of a single fir tree showing the difference clearly. At Modane just below the tunnel mouth we stopped, changed carriages, luggage examined (briefly), & I had dinner. Then the train wound up through a tunnel to the great tunnel; it took 16 min to the top of the slope inside, & 10 min down, 26 in all through the tunnel. Then there were some beautiful pieces of sunset light on the snowy peaks, & we went on in the dusk to Turin: being a fine clear moonlight night one could see the country; but it is not so fine as the French side by a good deal. At Turin I went to the place marked in the map as the Hotel du France, but there was no hotel, so asking a couple of police, they directed me immediately to it, (apparently it is moved): they were very polite & wrote down the directions on a

Page 4 (October 5 contd. to October 6, 1881)

printed form from a book, that they carry for notes & queries. Had a slight supper at the hotel & to bed by 11 ½, the train being late & not reaching Turin till ¼ to 10.

Thursday 6th Slept solidly till 7¼, just easy time for getting up. Had breakfast & then off in the 'bus to the sta (charge 7.20 for sup, bed & breakst; they are clean & very civil). Left Turin by 9.5 train: from the rail there are fine panoramic views of the range of Mt Bernard & Mt Rosa; today half hidden in shifting clouds, with blue sky above.
We had a splendid run all day in sight of the Alps; skirting the Lago di Garda, especially beautiful. The train did not reach Venice till ¼ to 8. I took a gondola after carefully explaining where I wanted to go; but the man I spoke to handed me over to another, who knew not a word of French, & who took me down to where the Austrian steamers start & then told me that there were none. We landed & found a German woman who spoke French; she assured me that the Peninsular & Oriental English steamer went to Trieste & would not be back for 4 days. At last I repeated to her (though I had told the man before) the name Bungalori (or Bancaloro as they make it) which immediately cleared up matters, she directed him & he took me there all right. There was nothing to be had to eat on board as all was locked up, & I had nothing since breakfast but grapes & two little breadstuffs; so I was famished. However I slept it off. We lie here just off the Doge's Palace, so I can examine easily from the deck. I send this off at Venice.

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Other Petrie Journals

1880 to 1881

1883 to 1884

(November 16, 2011)

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