Oblong Folio album (ca. 27x33 cm or 10 ½ x 13 in). 20 card stock leaves with tissue guards. With 42 mounted gelatin silver photos, including twenty-nine large ones ca. 20x26 cm (7 ¾ x 10 in), eight wide-angle panoramas ca. 9x28 cm (3 ½ x 11 in), and five smaller photos ca. 6x10,5 cm (2 ½ x 4 in). Twenty photos captioned, signed “Sebah & Joaillier” and/or numbered in negative. Period dark brown full faux leather album fastened with later metal clasps. Several photos with mild silvering, one leaf misbound with the gutter as margin and one photo with some minor abrasion on image, but overall a very good album of bright interesting photos.
An attractive album with interesting panoramic and close-up views of the major sites of Istanbul taken by noted local studio of Jean-Pascal Sebah (1872-1947) and Polycarpe Joailler (1848-1904). Established in the early 1890s on the basis of the prolific photography business of Jean’s father (or uncle?) Pascal Sebah who took hundreds of picturesque views of Egypt, Turkey and Greece in the 1870s, “Sebah & Joaillier” became one of the leaders of the Orientalist photography on the European market and the official studio of the Ottoman Sultan (1899). After Joaillier left he business in 1910, the studio was managed by Jean Sebah and his successors under the name “Photo Sabah” until it finally closed in 1952.
The majority of photos in the album (37) depict Istanbul and includes large attractive views of the Golden Horn with the Old Galata Bridge and the Süleymaniye Mosque, three views of the New Galata Bridge taken from both sides and featuring crossing streetcars and docked steamboats, panoramic views of the city port, Pera, Galata and Eyüp districts, Istanbul’s historical peninsula with the Süleymaniye Mosque, close-up views of Hagia Sophia, Yeni Valide Mosque, Galata Tower, Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III, the Eyüp Sultan Cemetery, the interior of the Little Hagia Sophia, a portrait of the boaters with the Galata district in the background etc. There are also five interesting views of the shores of the Strait of Bosphorus taken further away from the city core, with the steamers going through; the smaller panoramas taken mostly from the Strait of Bosphorus feature Dolmabahçe Palace and Mosque, Rumelihisarı fortress, the Seraglio Point etc. The unsigned views of Acropolis (very likely dating back to the times of Pascal Sebah who took a series of views of Athens in the 1870s) show the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Parthenon, and the Propylaea.
“Constantinople-based photographic studio Sebah & Joaillier formed from a partnership between Joannes (Jean) Pascal Sebah and Policarpe Joaillier which dates only from 1890, but from its establishment, took over the marketing of the catalogue of fine images produced in Turkey and Egypt by [Jean’s father] Pascal Sebah. Sebah operated a studio in Constantinople from the 1860s, and also worked in Egypt from 1873. The same images, therefore, have been marketed by the studio at various times as being the work of P. Sebah, J.P. Sebah, or Sebah & Joaillier. Following Pascal Sebah’s death in 1886, the Turkish studio was operated by his brother Cosimi for a time, who also trained Pascal’s son in the art of photography. Joannes, known as Jean, reputedly joined the business aged 16, took it over at age 18, and immediately entered into a partnership with Policarpe Joaillier. Joaillier returned to France in 1910, but with subsequent partners, Jean Sebah remained actively involved with the studio until 1943. From the 1870s, Sebah, and later Sebah and Joaillier, were major subjects of evocative imagery to the increasing number of people to undertook the Victorian Grand Tour. Their studio images of Egyptians and Nubians in “traditional” costumes and undertaking “traditional” tasks were highly popular and indeed had been Pascal Sebah’s Les Costumes Popularies de la Turquie published to critical acclaim in 1873” (Hannavy, J., ed. Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography. Vol. 1, New York, 2008, p. 1261).