Felix Bonfils Photographs

Detail of a pattern

At A Glance

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  • Creator

    Bonfils, Félix, 1831-1885
  • Dates

  • Physical Description

    15 Prints (albumen, 22.5 x 28.5 cm sheets.)
  • Collection ID


  • Scope and Contents

    Panoramic view in 360 degrees of Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey, circa 1870. 10 sheets of albumen print, of which five bear the photographer's signature and number.
    Panoramic view of Damascus, Syria, circa 1870. 5 sheets of albumen print, all bearing the photographer's signature and number.
  • Biographical / Historical

    Felix Bonfils was a French photographer who began his professional career as a bookbinder and printer, specializing in photoengravings. After visiting Lebanon as part of Napoleon III's expeditionary corps, in 1867 he became the first French photographer to settle in the Near East. With his wife Lydie, Bonfils established a studio, Maison Bonfils, in Beirut, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Known for his interest in architectural photography, Bonfils traveled widely in the Near East. His 1876 catalog is credited with introducing the genre of Near Eastern photographic portraiture.
  • Local Numbers

    FSA A1997.03
  • Photographer

    Bonfils, Félix, 1831-1885
  • Creator

    Bonfils, Lydie, 1837-1918
  • Place

    Damascus (Syria)
    Istanbul (Turkey)
    Constantinople (Turkey)
    Turkey -- Istanbul Province -- Constantinople (Istanbul)
    Syria -- Damascus -- Damascus
  • Custodial History

    Purchased, May 1997.
  • Archival Repository

    Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
  • Type

    Collection descriptions
    Archival materials
    Albumen prints
  • Citation

    Felix Bonfils Photographs, FSA A1997.03. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
  • Arrangement

    Organized in two flat boxes.
    First Box: Panoramas of Constantinople
    Second Box: Panoramas of Damascus
  • Rights

    Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
  • Genre/Form

    Albumen prints -- 1860-1880
  • Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

Repository Contact

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013