A facsimile is an edition of a book that is a faithful reproduction of the original, which is usually a rare manuscript, parchment or map. The facsimile edition follows international standards for the faithful rendering of the colors and aesthetics of the original book and is therefore available in a limited number of copies and is aimed primarily at collectors.
The newly established publishing house Aein, which specializes in reprinting rare editions, is making its debut with the facsimile edition of the volume “Views in Greece,” by Irish archaeologist and painter Edward Dodwell (1767-1832). The edition, whose texts have been translated into Greek, will be released next week in limited large copies (35×52 cm).
The publication also marks the publishing house’s contribution to the celebration of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, as the volume was first published in 1821 and reflects aspects of pre-revolutionary Greece. The author toured the mainland and the islands from 1801 to 1806 and depicted 30 locations such as the Acropolis and Agora of Athens, Mount Parnassus, the island of Ithaca and Viotia, Central Greece, among others, while writing explanatory texts in English and French.
Dodwell used the epitome of technology of his day, which was a camera obscura. “This means that the colored images in the book are realistic, they are not painted from memory,” as was usually the case with travelers, says Nikos Hatzigeorgiou, co-owner of Aein.
The new publishing house is the brainchild of Hatzigeorgiou, known in the publishing field thanks to Militos Publications, and Kostas Smyrniotakis, publisher of Niki Ekdotiki. It will specialize, as Hatzigeorgiou tells us, in the faithful reproduction of manuscripts and codices with the aim of “spreading and preserving our cultural heritage.” The manuscripts that Aein republishes will be translated into Greek and be aimed at the Greek market, including Greeks abroad.
The preparation of Dodwell’s book took three years. The original is housed at the Museum of the City of Athens and each page had to be photographed and then matched in color with the original. The challenge for facsimile versions is to convey the true feel of the original, with all the wear and tear of time. “We were looking to find paper that resembled that used in 1821 and our research took us to a handmade paper mill in southern Italy,” says Hatzigeorgiou. The books are handbound, while the gold print of the volume consists of 24 carat gold.
The publication consists of 1,000 numbered copies (under the artistic supervision of Vana Rousioti) and the goal of the publishing house is to produce three editions per year.
The next publication is a reproduction of a collectible album on the Evzones (the Greek Presidential Guard) which is housed at the US Library of Congress.