Drawing of a graveyard

Drawing of a graveyard
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Drawing in pencil by Arthur Evans of tombstones, captioned ‘Christian & Turkish graves’, identified as a depiction of a graveyard at Tassorič, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Artist: Arthur John Evans
Date of drawing: August 1875
Continent: Europe
Geographical area: Southern Europe
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Region/Place: Tassorič
Cultural group: European Bosnian | Turkish
Format: Drawing
Size: 82 x 140 mm
Acquisition: Joan Evans. Donated August 1941


Exhibition caption: ‘One of a selection of drawings and ink sketches made by Arthur Evans while travelling with his brother through Bosnia and Herzegovina in the summer of 1875. They show people and places encountered by the pair on a route south from Agram (modern-day Zagreb) – via Tešanj, Sarajevo and Mostar – to Ragusa (Dubrovnik), which Evans and his wife were later to make their home. The illustrations demonstrate a particular interest in identity and dress, Evans writing, for example, of finding “two Bulgarians hard at work tying up bundles of onions, clad in their dark national costume – the brown tight-sleeved jacket embroidered with black, the dull red sash, the brown trowser-leggings which are equally Turkish and Tartar and on their head the black sheepskin cap which had at first attracted my attention.” As well as being an aide-mémoire, the drawings provided the basis for engravings published in Evans’ account of his journey, Through Bosnia and the Herzegóvina on Foot during the Insurrection, August and September 1875 (London, 1876). As an eyewitness account of a distant region in turmoil, the book was an immediate success, quoted extensively in Parliament, and it went into a second edition the following year.’ Source: ‘Travels in Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Ethnographic Collection of Sir Arthur Evans’, exhibition curated by Philip Grover, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 29 April to 1 September 2013.

Primary documentation: ‘[p.588] Dr. JOAN EVANS, from the property of the late SIR ARTHUR EVANS, Youlbury, Boars Hill, Oxford. [List of items follows]’; ‘[p.590] 21 Original pencil sketches, types & scenery. BALKANS’: Pitt Rivers Museum accession records (Donations X, 1937–1941), pp.588, 590. Annotations on drawing: ‘Christian & Turkish graves/ side by side/ Tassorić: - Herzegovina’ (written in pencil below drawing).

Research notes: It has been identified by Philip Grover that this original drawing was used as the artwork for a woodcut engraving by ‘W. J. M.’ (initials of engraver) subsequently published in the British illustrated newspaper The Graphic, 9 October 1875, p.348, captioned at bottom of the page ‘Christian and Turkish Graves Side by Side, Tassoric, Herzegovina.’ The same engraving was also published in Arthur J. Evans, Through Bosnia and the Herzegóvina on Foot during the Insurrection, August and September 1875 (London, 1876), p.357, printed with the caption ‘Graveyard at Tassorić’. Evans recorded in the volume: ‘The seat on which we quaffed our mocha here was supported by two fragmentary bases of Roman columns; but in a graveyard hard by, which we had leisure to examine, were modern monuments of still greater interest. These were the gravestones of the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Tassorić, which were ornamented with incised crosses and floral devices of an elegance indeed surprising when it is remembered that these were the work of rude peasants, unable to write even the names of their departed kinsmen whom they wished to honour’: Through Bosnia and the Herzegóvina on Foot, p.356.