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Title and summary note are provided by Shabnam Rahimi-Golkhandan, FSg curatorial research specialist
Antoin Sevruguin is one of the early pioneers of commercial photography in Iran. He arrived in Iran from Tbilisi, Georgia in the mid 1870s to set up shop in Ala al-Dawla street in Tehran. From the early days, Sevruguin's studio was trusted both by the Qajar court and by foreign visitors to Iran. Highly regarded for their artistic ingenuity outside Iran, Sevruguin's photographs of 'ethnic types,' architecture and landscape, and depictions of daily life of Tehran found their way into foreign travelogues, magazines and books. As such, he stands alone in a relatively large group of early Iranian photographers for being recognized and celebrated outside the boundaries of the country. Antoin Sevruguin passed away in 1933, leaving behind only a fraction of his large collection of glass negatives, which is currently in the Archives of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
"The image has a very specific date and description attributed to it in Mahdi Bamdad's book. The following is a summary of the description: In Ramadan of 1307 (May of 1890) the 57,000 tooman owed to the treasury is returned. Aqa Dali is cooking the beans and on the right Mirza Ali Akbar (Bamdad, vol.5, p:159-160) has received the bags of money to send to treasury. The figures are identified as: From Right to left: Mirza Muhammad Malijak Amin Khan, General, Amin Huzur, I'timad al-Harem Khaja-Bashi, Aqa Da'i, Aqa Da'i's son, Aqa Da'i's brother, Rika, Nasir Al-Din Shah, Aqa Muhammad Saray-dar, Mirza Sayyid Ali (Mirza Ali Akbar's son). The figure sitting beside the bags of money is Mirza Ali Akbar." [Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Curatorial Research Assistant]
- Faded handwritten number (inked, probably by Antoin Sevruguin) reads, "1083."
- Handwritten information on slip of paper (from a 1943-1944 cash book, produced by the Bathni Brothers, Tehran) reads, "Nasr ed Din Shah + Court." [Myron Bement Smith Collection, Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information]
- Myron Bement Smith handwritten caption in English reads, "47.P; Box 19.1: Nasr ud Din Shah and court." [Myron Bement Smith Collection, Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information; Box 60; Folder 44: 47 P: Antoine Sevruguin, glass negatives, Iran]
Myron Bement Smith Collection: Antoin Sevruguin Photographs. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Gift of Katherine Dennis Smith, 1973-1985