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Monday, August 29, 2016

Amazing pictures of Ancient Egypt shown in the early years of photography | Daily Mail Online


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3762212/The-birth-travel-photography-Amazing-pictures-Ancient-Egypt-wowed-Victorian-world-years-camera.html

The birth of travel photography: Amazing pictures of Ancient Egypt which wowed the Victorian world in the first years of the camera

  • Maxime Du Camp, son of a rich French surgeon, went on expedition with writer friend Gustave Flaubert
  • Took 59 black and white images from 1849 to 1851, developing them with jugs of chemicals in the desert
  • Du Camp became instant celebrity on their release, at a time when camera technology was in its infancy
  • Photos will now go on sale as part of wider collection expected to fetch £15,000 - but may be much more 

Rare photographs that get people all over the world their first glimpse at the incredible wonders of Ancient Egypt have gone on sale 170 years after they were taken. 

The stunning collection of 59 black and white images including the Pyramids, the Sphinx and statues at Aswan is among the first known volumes of travel photography ever made.

Maxime Du Camp, the son of a wealthy French surgeon, captured the images between 1849 and 1851 during a government-backed expedition with his friend and literary great Gustave Flaubert.

Rare early photographs revealing the stunning architecture of Ancient Egypt including the Sphynx and the Pyramids to the public for the first time have emerged 170 years after they were taken

The stunning collection - comprising 59 black and white images of sights including the Abu Simbel statue of Rameses II (pictured) before it was moved - is among the first known volumes of travel photography

The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu (pictured) was one of the images captured by Maxime Du Camp, the son of a wealthy French surgeon, between 1849 and 1851 - when camera technology was still in its infancy

As the pair voyaged across the Orient, Du Camp spent hours in the heat of the desert with his wooden Calotype camera and tripod, before using the jugs of chemicals he needed to bring the images to life.

Such was Du Camp's commitment to his art, his travelling partner Flaubert once wrote: 'I don't know how Maxime hasn't killed himself with this raging mania for photography.'

But his efforts now provide an extraordinary glimpse into a time when the region was in only the earliest throes of industrialisation, and the barbaric cultural vandalism of so-called Islamic State taking place in today's Syria was an unthinkable prospect.

The set of prints, which was created by pressing the original negatives directly onto card mounts, were sold as collectables and have been passed down through generations of a South African family.

The ruined Temple of Karnak in Thebes - Modern Luxor - was captured by Du Camp, who spent hours in the heat of the desert with his wooden Calotype camera and tripod, before using the jugs of chemicals he needed to bring the images to life

The set of prints - including this picture of the Upper Egypt Mosque of Ali Bey - were sold as collectables and have been passed down through generations of a South African family

The Mosque of Sultan Hassan, a Mamluk era mosque located near the Citadel in Cairo, is part of a set that offers an extraordinary glimpse into a time when the region was in only the earliest throes of industrialisation

But the family have now decided to part with them via Antiquarian Auctions in an online sale.

Paul Mills, the antiques dealer managing the lot, estimates that the set, which made up part of a wider volume Du Camp released called Égyptie, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, could fetch in excess of £15,000 ($20,000).

He said, however, bidding could go much higher with similar individual prints in the past going for more than £760 ($1,000) a piece.

Mr Mills said: 'These pictures allow you to look into the past and see the remarkable changes that have occurred.

'At that point photography had only been around for 20 years or so and was a relatively new invention, so to venture into that desert heat for hours and to take some of the best photos ever, was a remarkable achievement.

The Temple of Isis (Egyptian sun god) at Philae, pictured in 1840, was later moved because of the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 20th century

Mosque of Bellal at Philae was pictured during the government-backed expedition, on which Du Camp and companion Gustave Flaubert had dangerous encounters with locals and took exotic drugs

Freize from the temple at Dendera in High Egypt is one of the scenes photographed by Du Camp, which made him an overnight celebrity on their release

'It was an extraordinarily difficult, timely process - a world away from being able to take a quick snap on your phone and upload it straight to Facebook.'

Following Du Camp and Flaubert's travels, they both wrote journals recounting their adventures, which included accounts of dangerous encounters with locals and their experimentation with exotic drugs.

On his return Du Camp became famous overnight following the release of his photographs. He died aged 72 in 1884 after being appointed an officer of the Legion of Honour in acknowledgement of his achievements.

Flaubert, who died aged 58 in 1880, went on to become one of France's most influential novelists, best known for Madame Bovary.

Bidding on the online auction concludes on Thursday.