For those who appreciate the ancient history of the Holy Land, an exceptional photographic archive is being sold at Sothebys on Thursday 28 April as one single lot in the Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History sale.


FRANCIS BEDFORD, CUPOLA, CALLED DOME OF THE CHAIN, BEFORE THE EAST PORCH OF THE MOSQUE OF THE DOME OF THE ROCK, 1862. PART OF THE COLLECTION: JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND IN PHOTOGRAPHS: 1850 TO C.1930. ESTIMATE £300,000–350,000.

Richard Fattorini, the specialist in charge of the sale says, “This is the largest collection of photographs of Jerusalem and the Holy Land to appear at auction in a single lot, and is of the greatest historical significance.


GEORGE BRIDGES, THE WAILING WALL, 1850. PART OF THE COLLECTION: JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND IN PHOTOGRAPHS: 1850 TO C.1930. ESTIMATE £300,000–350,000.

“This collection includes images by many of the most significant photographers who took images in the second half of the 19th century. The aim of the collector was to acquire the finest examples of the earliest obtainable paper photographs of revered and historic sites in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It is a remarkable collection, both in its quality and in its breadth, comprising some 1,700 images dating back to 1850.”



AUGUSTE SALZMANN, MOSQUÉE D’OMAR, 1856. PART OF THE COLLECTION: JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND IN PHOTOGRAPHS: 1850 TO C.1930. ESTIMATE £300,000–350,000.

The photographs straddle genres and subject matter, giving an extraordinary glimpse into the lives and social mores of that region. Images of Bedouins, Muslim worshippers, mosques, monuments, as well as wonderful landscapes, transport us into a time and place that remain at the heart of regional history and politics.



MAISON BONFILS, PORTRAITS, C.1870. PART OF THE COLLECTION: JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND IN PHOTOGRAPHS: 1850 TO C.1930. ESTIMATE £300,000–350,000.

Of particular interest to me is an image of a Woman of Jerusalem (above), languishing in the manner of an Orientalist Odalisque, but in full dress and local idiom. It is as if these photographers engaged in a dialogue with the Orientalist painters so treasured today.


FRANCIS BEDFORD, MINBAR, C.1862. PART OF THE COLLECTION: JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND IN PHOTOGRAPHS: 1850 TO C.1930.
ESTIMATE £300,000–350,000.

The historical and documentary value of this archive is untold. Should an institution acquire it so that the public at large can better understand that time and place, it would be a significant public service. If an individual is fortunate enough to become the custodian of this treasure, the hope is that they will in due course exhibit it as well.

The Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History sale will be held at Sotheby’s, London on 28 April.

旅行、地圖及自然歷史

28 April 2016 | London