This engraving by Joseph Goodyear was made after an earlier oil painting by Charles Lock Eastlake, titled ‘Greek fugitives in the aftermath of the tragic destruction of Chios on 1 September, 1822’ (Benaki Museum, Athens). The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, in 1833. The island of Chios is situated five miles off the western coast of Turkey, in the Aegean Sea. This historical scene depicts a group of bereft and exhausted islanders, anxiously seeking refuge from Turkish invaders, during the Greek War of Independence.
In the foreground a group, predominantly of women and children, seek shade under a tree on a rocky outcrop. A young boy collapses with exhaustion on his mother’s lap, while another woman nurses her baby. At the far right of the scene, an elderly man sits dejectedly, his hands clasped on his knees and a staff fallen beside him on the ground. At the feet of the group other personal items such as jewellery, pipes and clothing lie randomly, as if discarded by those who have fled before them. A standing man looks towards turbaned raiders on horseback, on a distant path. Behind the raiders, smoke billows from blazing homes.
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