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The ever-alluring aspects of Egypt's landscape and monuments in the late nineteenth-century

L'Égypte et la Nubie. Grand album monumental, historique, architectural...
Paris, André Palmieri & Émile Béchard, 1887. Large folio (45.5 x 63 cm). With 150 collotype photographic plates, all signed, numbered and captioned in the wide margins of each plate. The half title-page and divisional half title-page for the explanation of the plates are printed in red , the typographical title-page shows a small vignette of an Egyptian mask. Loose leaves. 23, [1 blank], [3 (numbered [175]-177)], [1 blank], [1], [1 blank], [1], [1 blank] pp. and 150 plates.
€ 35,000
Grand collection of collotype photographic plates of monuments, views and other scenes in Egypt and Nubia by the French photographer Émile Béchard. Each of the 150 plates is accompanied by a short description, based on the works of renowned Egyptologists, Orientalists, and other scientists like the philologist Champollion who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Notable plates in the present series include views of Cairo, the pyramids, the valley of the kings, the Karnac temple complex and many other monuments.
The original photographs of the present collection by Béchard has won the "medailled d'or" at the "Exposition Universelle 1878", also known as the third Paris World's Fair, as proudly stated in the preface. A loose translation reads: "However, with regard to the photographs that we have had reproduced by the unalterable processes of collotype, let us recall here that the jury of the awards at the Universal Exhibition of 1878 judged them worthy of a first class gold medal awarded to their author, Mr. Émile Béchard" (p. 5).
Émile Béchard (1844-?) was a French photographer, active during the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s.
"Working in Egypt from 1870 to 1880, the photographer Émile Béchard (1844- ?) is above all known for his genre scenes and cunningly composed Egyptian views, as well as his carefully constructed versions of Egypts cultural heritage, ancient or medieval...". (M. Volait, Emile Bechard. The New Cairo in 1874. See: https://heritage.bnf.fr/bibliothequesorient/en/emile-bechard-new-cairo-article).
Émile and Henri Béchard together with Hippolyte (Délié) are often thought to be 3 different photographers, related by a family- and/or business-connection (see the Encyclopedia of nineteenth-century photography, p. 131). The Met Museum suggests another theory, in which Émile and Henri are the same person, namely Émile Henri Béchard, and Hippolyte was a distributor of Béchard's work in France.
The present album is not bound, the half title-page is somewhat browned and scuffed, the edges of the leaves are very slightly browned and frayed. The margins leaves show some occasional very slight foxing, but the plates remain very clear. Overall in good condition. Encyclopedia of nineteenth-century photography p. 131; WorldCat 759756036, 9198318, 252011877, 922071449, 80534462; 1179187662, cf. for the photographer(s): The BnF: https://heritage.bnf.fr/bibliothequesorient/en/emile-bechard-new-cairo-article; The Met Museum, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/266061.
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