21 May 2016
Cairo. View of the Sultan Al-Ghuri Complex .
Daguerreotype, 12 by 19 cm.
Executed c. 1842–1844.
Provenance: Private collection, France.
Acquired from the above by Serge Plantureux, France.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Private collection, Europe.
Girault de Prangey was not the first amongst his contemporaries to practice photography during his travels in the Near East in 1842–1844. Nevertheless, his daguerreotypes from this period are the only surviving ones and they are now recognised as the earliest photographs of Egypt. Girault de Prangey was almost certainly familiar with major Egyptian sites and monuments from books that were published in the wake of Napoléon’s foray into Egypt, such as Déscription de l’Egypte (1809–1828). Girault de Prangey produced over 200 daguerreotypes depicting the exotic splendours of Alexandria, Fuwa and Rosetta. However, it was Cairo that he found particularly captivating, spending several months there in 1842 and 1843. Four daguerreotypes presented here serve as examples of Girault de Prangey’s innovative use of format and highlight his keen interest in a visual study of Islamic architecture.
Notes on symbols:
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§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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