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Sauvaire (Henri Joseph) Photographs
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Henri Joseph Sauvaire photographs from the duc de Luynes's second expedition to the Holy Land
    Date (inclusive): 1866
    Number: 2019.R.32
    Creator/Collector: Sauvaire, Henri Joseph, 1831-
    Physical Description: 3.75 Linear Feet (73 photographs in 3 boxes)
    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: The collection comprises a complete set of albumen prints corresponding to the 73 exposures on paper negatives taken by Henri Joseph Sauvaire between April 7 and May 14, 1866 during the second expedition to the Holy Land sponsored by the duc de Luynes.
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    Language: Collection material is in French.

    Biographical / Historical

    Henri Joseph Sauvaire was a French diplomat, numismatist, Orientalist and amateur photographer. He was born in Marseilles on March 15, 1831, and was raised by his merchant uncle and guardian, Maurius Sauvaire, whose extensive dealings in Beirut and the Middle East exposed him to the Arabic world at an early age.
    After receiving his baccalauréat in 1848 from the Facilté des Lettres d'Aix-en-Provence, Sauvaire studied Arabic at the Lycée Thiers in Marseilles. He began his career in the French consular service as a chancellery clerk in Alexandria in 1857. In 1865, he was named first dragoman in Alexandria, and was also made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur. Sauvaire lived in the Middle East from 1857 to 1883, holding posts in Beirut, Jerusalem, Syria, and Egypt. His last appointment was in Casablanca, Morocco, where, in 1876, he was promoted to the position of Consul.
    Sauvaire took up photography as a hobby in the late 1850s and joined the Société de Photographie in Marseilles in 1860 as a corresponding member. He circulated among the amateur "Orientalist" photographers practicing in the Middle East and France. In the early 1860s he made several photographs of the Orientalist painter, Camille Rogier, including portraits of him alone, with his family, in tableaux vivants staged in the artist's Beirut studio, and present in scenes shot in and around Beirut and Lebanon. Examples of these images can be found in the Musée d'Orsay. Sauvaire was also well-known for his architectural and archaeological views of the Middle East, which he exhibited and published in France.
    Sauvaire acted as the photographer for the duc de Luynes's second expedition to the Holy Land. Luynes's desire to record all aspects of the Dead Sea basin – biological, climatological, historical, archaeological – had already resulted in his sponsorship of an expedition in 1864 to that region which included himself, naturalist, Louis Lartet, physician, Gustave Combe, and photographer, Louis Vignes. In 1866, Luynes's continued interest in the largely-unexplored biblical and later Christian sites of the area led him to send the architect, Charles Mauss, who was then directing the restoration of the Crusader church of Saint Anne and the cupola of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and Sauvaire on a second expedition, this time to Transjordan to explore and record the Crusader castles once part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, especially Kerak Castle at Al-Karak and Montréal in Shoubak.
    Eschewing the fragility and weight of collodion or albumen glass plate negatives, and well aware of the problems that environmental conditions could cause when using them, Sauvaire chose instead to photograph using paper negatives. This proved to be a fortuitous decision, not the least since on April 13, less than a week into the journey, the two mules carrying Sauvaire's luggage and photographic equipment collapsed in the middle of a river. In the course of the five-week expedition Sauvaire made 73 negatives, on some days managing to make eight ten- to –fifteen-minute exposures after first preparing the negative paper and then carrying his heavy equipment up a hill before setting up his camera and preparing for each shot. Sauvaire also carried out epigraphic surveys, translating the inscriptions he found, and helped Mauss with his surveys.
    Luynes was well-pleased with the work accomplished by the team. In a letter to Sauvaire dated 7 June 1866, presumably after Luynes had received the materials Sauvaire produced during the expedition, he wrote to the diplomat, "Your talents as epigraphist and photographer have been instrumental in conferring great value on the exploration undertaken, by virtue of the authentic evidence with which you have provided it" (excerpted in Foliot, "Louis Vignes and Henry Sauvaire…").
    Sauvaire and Mauss published their combined travel accounts as "De Karak à Chaubak: extrait du journal de voyage de MM. Mauss et Sauvaire," in the Bulletin de la Société de géographie (vol. 14, July-December 1867). Their accounts also appeared in the second volume of the duc de Luynes's three-volume publication Voyage d'exploration à la mer Morte, à Petra, et sur la rive gauche de Jourdain (1874) as "Voyage de Jerusalem à Karak et à Chaubak." Fourteen of Sauvaire's photographs were reproduced as lithographs by Eugène Cicéri for the accompanying Atlas (eight of the 12 prints depicting Kerak Castle are erroneously attributed to Vignes).
    Over the course of his life in the Middle East Sauvaire assembled a large collection of Arabic manuscripts and coins. Many of his scholarly publications, such as Histoire de Jérusalem et d'Hébron depuis Abraham jusqu'à à la fin du XVe siecle de J.-C.: fragments de la chronique de Moudjir-ed-din traduits sur le texte arabe (1876), were translations and commentaries on Arabic manuscripts. He also wrote extensively on Muslim numismatics and metrology. Between 1875 and 1882, he published a series of articles in Journal asiatique titled "Matériaux pour servir à l'histoire de la numismatique et de la mé́trologie musulmanes, traduits, ou recueillis et mis en ordre" in which he assembled and organized a large and scattered body of historical sources. The "Matériaux" has since served as a standard reference for the study of Islamic numesmatics and meterology. Regarding the "Matériaux," Gustave Schlumbereger noted in his eulogy of Sauvaire published in the Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1896), "Thanks to his tireless research, we now have a complete and reasoned inventory of all weights, of all the measures in use in Muslim countries throughout the Middle Ages and until modern times. His work is an inexhaustible mine of information for the lexicography, the language of law and the history of Arab civilization."
    In 1883, Sauvaire retired at Robernier, France, near Marseilles, where he continued to take photographs and publish articles on Arabic subjects such as his "Description de Damas," an abridgment of the Tanbīh al-țālib of al-Nu'aimī, published in Journal asiatique (1894-1896). In 1889, the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres bestowed the title of Correspondent upon him. Sauvaire passed away at his home on April 4, 1896.
    Sources consulted:
    -"Obituary Notice: Henri Sauvaire," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland for 1896 . London: Published by the Society: p. 617-619.
    Blau, Daniel, Henri Sauvaire (1831-1896): Voyage d'exploration à Hebron, Karak, Djafar, El-Heca, Chaubak, Dausak, Twahné et Zatt-Rass . Munich: Daniel Blau, 2015. https://issuu.com/danielblau5/docs/buch_sauvaire_90dpi.
    Foliot, Philippe, "Louis Vignes and Henry Sauvaire, Photographers on the Expeditions of the Duc de Luynes," History of Photography, vol. 14, no. 3: p. 233-250.
    -"Vignes, Sauvaire, Placet, Nègre and the Duc de Luynes." Art of the Photogravure . https://photogravure.com/highlights/vinges-sauvaire-placet-negre-and-the-duke
    Font-Réaulx, Dominique de, "Sauvaire, Henri (1831-1896)," in John Hannavy (ed.), Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Photography. New York: Routledge, 2008: vol. 2, p. 1244.
    Schlumberger, Gustave, "Éloge funèbre de M. Henri-Joseph Sauvaire, correspondant de l'Académie," in: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres , 40ͤ année, N. 2, 1896: p.151-153. https://www.persee.fr/doc/crai_0065-0536_1896_num_40_2_707

    Administrative Information


    Restricted. Contact the repository for information regarding access.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Henri Joseph Sauvaire photographs from the duc de Luynes's second expedition to the Holy Land, 1866, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2019.R.32.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Acquired in 2019.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed by Beth Ann Guynn in 2020. She also wrote the finding aid.

    Digitized Material

    The collection was digitized in 2020 and the images are available online:

    Related Archival Materials

    The repository holds the original paper negatives made by Henri-Joseph Sauvaire on the expedition, along with his original handwritten inventory of the negatives. These items can be found in Materials relating to the duc de Luynes's expedition to the Dead Sea region, accession no. 2019.M.20.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection comprises a complete set of albumen prints corresponding to the 73 exposures on paper negatives taken by Henri Joseph Sauvaire between April 7 and May, 14, 1866, during the second expedition to the Holy Land sponsored by Honoré d'Albert, duc de Luynes, in this case specifically to explore the Crusader castles and ancient sites of southern Jordan.
    The first photographs Sauvaire took present views of the al-Ibrahimi and al-Bakka mosques in Hebron, where the expedition stopped after leaving Jerusalem before traveling southeast to the city of Al-Karak (Qīr Mōav). At Al-Karak, Sauvaire extensively photographed the castle, the town and its ruined mosque, while Mauss surveyed the castle site. The men then began a two-week tour across the Karak Plateau, traveling south to the Crusader castle at Chaubak (Shoubak). Along the way, Sauvaire photographed the tomb and ruins of the mosque dedicated to Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, a cousin of Muhammad and an early convert to Islam, at Djafar (Al Mazāār Al Janbūt) and a trade route fort at Kalat el Heça. While Mauss was exploring the mosque ruins at Djafar, Sauvaire unearthed inscriptions dating the building to 727 CE.
    At Chaubak, Sauvaire was only able to photograph the exterior of the castle, known as Montréal, from below the round hilltop on which it is situated, as the local inhabitants did not allow the party close access to the site. One view includes the expedition's camp at the base of the hill. The expedition returned to Al-Karak along a different route from whence it came, allowing Sauvaire to photograph the ruins of a caravanserai at Dausak and the late-Roman temple at Twahné (Twahne). Sauvaire's final photographs of the expedition are of the Nabatean or Roman temples at Zat-Rass (Dhat Ras). In addition to documenting the ancient sites visited by the expedition, Sauvaire's photographs include portraits of Mohammed Midjaly, sheikh of Al-Karak, and of his son and cousin, as well as a view of a Bedouin encampment near Djafar.
    At the end of the handwritten inventory accompanying his original paper negatives Sauvaire records the number of images he took at each site (and its general environs) as follows: Hebron–8; Karak–47; Djafar-3; el Heça-2; Chaubak-5; Dausak-1; Twahné-1; Zat-Rass-6 (see: "Voyage à Karnak et à Chaubak. Nomenclature des photographies prise pendant le voyage," special collections accession no. 2019.M.20). The titles of the photographs as found in this finding aid are taken from this inventory. Place names are thus in Sauvaire's nineteenth-century French, with the modern place name, when different, given in parentheses at the heading for each site.


    Arranged in a single series: Series I. Henri Joseph Sauvaire photographs from the duc de Luynes's second Expedition to the Holy Land, 1866.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Castles -- Jordan
    Temples, Roman -- Jordan
    Mosques -- West Bank

    Subjects - Places

    West Bank -- Description and travel
    Jordan -- Description and travel
    Qīr Mōav -- Antiquities

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Albumen prints -- Jordan -- 19th century
    Albumen prints -- West Bank -- 19th century
    Photographs, Original.


    Sauvaire, Henri Joseph, 1831-