View of Oxyrhynchus 1798

In 1798 Baron Vivant Denon visited the site while in Egypt with the French forces, and made a drawing (of which this is an excerpt) from out to the north-west of what was by then no more than a village. Some of the architectural details in the distance can be observed more closely in Denon’s second drawing, and can still be observed in modern photographs.

Unwittingly, Denon made his long-distance drawing precisely in the middle of the mounds which would start to yield their papyrus riches to Grenfell and Hunt at the end of the next century, riches which would see their first instalment published exactly a century after Denon’s visit.