The collection of 47 photographs
contains views of the city of Beirut, Lebanon and the ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra
and the town of Al-Rastan in Syria, taken by Louis Vignes in 1864 when he accompanied Honoré
Théodoric d'Albert, duc de Luynes, on his expedition to the Dead Sea region. They represent
the earliest photographs of the remains of Roman Palmyra and are also among the earliest
photographs of Beirut.
Louis Vignes (1831-1896) was born in Bordeaux, France, where his father was director of the
mint. Vignes entered the École Navale in 1846 at age 15. He rose steadily through the naval
ranks and by 1860 he had directed the building of the port of Beirut and attained the rank
of lieutenant. In 1862, Vignes captained a steamer attached to the division of the coasts of
Syria. By the end of his long and successful naval career Vignes had attained the rank of
vice admiral and had become Inspecteur général de la Marine.
47 photographic prints
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