Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Bonfils, Félix 1831-1885  Search this
Bonfils, Lydie 1837-1918  Search this
Physical description:
15 prints : albumen; 22.5 x 28.5 cm sheets
Collection descriptions
Albumen prints
Turkey, Istanbul Province, Constantinople (Istanbul)
Syria, Damascus, Damascus
Damascus (Syria)
Istanbul (Turkey)
Constantinople (Turkey)
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.
Purchased, May 1997.
Organized in two flat boxes
First Box: Panoramas of Constantinople
Second Box: Panoramas of Damascus
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.
Repository Loc.:
Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, 1050 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20013-7012
Local number:
FSA A1997.03
Restrictions & Rights:
Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment:
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository
Data Source:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives