Almost eight months after the death of the veteran artist Hassan Kamy, Egypt’s Ministry of Culture managed to obtain a collection of rare books, that were at the L’Orientaliste (Al Mustashrek) Library previously owned by Kamy Downtown.
The Library is known for having a huge collection of Egypt’s rarest, one of a kind, authentic books. Following the announcement of Kamy’s lawyer claiming that he had purchased the collection from the late artist before his death.
On Sunday, the ministry announced in a press statement that it managed to obtain the collection, which consists of 86 rare books, stamps, and inscriptions.
The announcement came after months of negotiations with the new owner to settle for the financial cost. A committee headed by the director of the Egyptian National Library and Archives, Hisham Azmy, handled the negotiations to return the literature gems into the public authorizations.
For her side, the Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayem stated that Egypt has a huge cultural heritage as one of the ancient civilisations, assuring that the country exterts the maximum possible efforts to save the treasures that shape the nation’s identity.
Abdel Dayem added that the obtained belongings reflect Egypt’s several historical eras.
The collection included original authentic books like “Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt during the campaigns of General Bonaparte in that country,” by the French writer Vivant Denon that he wrote in 1803, as well as “Histoire de Jérusalem”, a religious and philosophical study, by the French writer, Poujoulat M., that was crowned by the French Academy in 1840-1842.
“Travels to Upper and Lower Egypt” is another rare book written by the French naturalist, Sonnini de Manoncourt in 1799, and “Histoire de Mehemet-Ali,” a book chronicling the era of Mohammed Ali, by Paul Mouriez who documented all the living conditions at that era, with handwritten portraits included at the book.
The acquired books represent only a small portion of the library’s huge treasures which include, the five parts of the Scottish traveller’s James Bruce 18th century book in which he detected and documented the origins of the Nile, according to one of Kamy’s friends.
Also, the local media stated that the library contains around 40,000 books and portraits.
L’Orientaliste contains some remains of several rare atlases, one of which is “Atlas Generale“ which its other copies were burned in France during WWII. The 19th-century old library was built by the hands of a Jewish traveller who wanted it to be a source of rich information for world travellers.
Kamy passed away last December at the age of 82, leaving behind a rich legacy of artistic heritage.