Albumen Photographic Print: Hotel du Nil (Egypt, Circa 1880)
An original albumen photographic print attributed to Pascal Sébah, circa 1880. The title, "Hotel du Nil," is hand written in pencil in the lower left but the photo is unsigned. The attribution comes from the existence of a similar signed “P. Sébah” photograph of a veiled Turkish woman whom appears in one of the photographs acquired along with this photo, wearing the same dress, jewelry, and veil in both photos.
Pascal Sébah (1823-1886) was one of the important professional photographers of his time in the Ottoman Empire, and served the demand for souvenirs to the increasing tourist trade that developed in Egypt in the second half of the 19th century. Sébah established a studio in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1857, opening a branch in Cairo in 1873. His son, Jean Pascal Sébah (1872-1947), took over the studio sometime after his father’s death in 1886. The father signed his prints P. Sébah and the son J. Pascal Sébah. The Cairo studio operated until 1898.
The Hotel du Nil was located in Cairo and closed around 1906. The photograph depicts guest lounging in a lush hotel courtyard of palms with two sarcophagus statues in the foreground to the left and right, and a taxidermied alligator hanging in the breezeway. Although Sébah's photographs were produced for the tourist trade, they were of high quality, composition, and skill, and are represented in museum collections such as The Brooklyn Museum, among others. A rare print attributed to the noted photographer. Item #1380.
Condition: Very Good, some light scuffing to surfaces and toning to boards, more prominent around edges; a few light spots or foxing to the surface of prints and boards; possible fading to the photo; mounted on board from the period, with the sepia tones common to albumen prints.