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Middle Eastern and North African Views and Portraits
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Middle Eastern and North African Views and Portraits
    Date (inclusive): circa 1870-circa 1900
    Number: 93.R.72
    Physical Description: 32 photographic prints
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: This collection of albumen prints dates from the last quarter of the 19th century and comprises views and portraits from North Africa and the Middle East, some of which are signed Bonfils.
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    Language: Collection material is in French and English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Eighteen images are signed Bonfils in the negative, and two others are attibuted to Bonfils. The Bonfils family operated a photographic studio in Beirut from 1867 to 1918. Félix Bonfils produced most of the early work; his wife, Lydie, son, Adrien, and various assistants were responsible for the later work. One image is attributed to Henri Béchard, who was active in Egypt in the 1870s and 1880s.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Middle Eastern and North African views and portraits, circa 1870-circa 1900, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 93.R.72

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1993.

    Processing History

    Processed and cataloged by Beth Guynn; finding aid encoded by Holly Larson with grant funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection of albumen prints dates from the last quarter of the 19th century and comprises three groups of images: eight unmounted photographs; 16 photographs mounted recto and verso on eight loose blue album leaves; eight photographs mounted recto and verso on four loose buff album leaves. Four of the unmounted photographs and 14 of those mounted on blue leaves are signed Bonfils. These images include studio or otherwise posed portraits of camel drivers, Bedouin musicians, Egyptian dancers and singers, and a variety of young women identified as "mauresque," Egyptian or Turkish, plus one image of a group of young girls on a road near Mt. Carmel. Geographic locales include Algeria (a mosque and a neighborhood vegetable stand); Syria (Baalbek, a palace door); and Rhodes (rue des Chevaliers).
    Images in the group on buff leaves, all unsigned (though two are attributed on the mount to Bonfils), are from an album compiled by an English couple touring Egypt and vicinity. Captioned locales include Luxor (Thebes), the pyramids and Petra, and include date of visit. Of particular interest are two images of a man and woman in European dress ascending and descending the Great Pyramid at Giza with the assistance of many local guides (attributed on mount to Béchard).


    Arranged in three series: ; ; .Series I. Photographic prints mounted on blue album leaves Series II. Photographic prints mounted on buff album leaves Series III. Photographic prints, unmounted

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Pyramids -- Egypt
    Africa, North -- Description and travel
    Musicians -- Egypt
    Women -- Middle East -- Portraits

    Subjects - Places

    Middle East -- Description and travel
    Ba'labakk (Lebanon)

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Albumen prints -- 19th century


    Bonfils, Félix
    Béchard, Henri