The collection consists of approximately 1,950 glass plate and large format film negatives,100 hand-tinted and black-and-white prints and four photographic albums containing prints of various sizes, taken by Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, the royal photographer to the Oba of Benin, Akenzua II (1933-1978). These images span six decades (1926 - 1989) and represent a dynamic, continuous record of the Benin Royal Court in Nigeria. Alonge documented the pageantry, ritual and regalia of the Obas, their wives and retainers for over a half-century, including the coronation of the King and the Iyoba, or queen mother. The collection also documents historic visits to Benin by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (1956), Princess Alexandra (1960), foreign dignitaries, traditional rulers, political leaders and celebrities. The collection preserves an important historical record of Benin art and culture during the periods of British colonial rule and Nigerian independence in the 20th century. The rarity and historical value of the collection are enhanced by Alonge's privileged access to the Palace as a chief in the Iwebo Palace Society, a position which presents a unique insider's view of Benin royalty. The quality of the collection is testament to Alonge's technological skills in photography and his professionalism in keeping the collection ordered and well-preserved despite the heat, humidity and tropical climate of Nigeria.
Arrangement of negatives reflects the original order established by the photographer.
Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge (1911-1994) was the first indigenous photographer of the Royal Court of Benin and one of the premier photographers of Nigeria. His significance as one of the earliest indigenous photographers in West Africa has been documented in detail by anthropologist Flora Kaplan. Alonge learned the craft of photography as a youth in Lagos during the 1920s and saw his profession as an honorable and distinguished calling. He clearly demonstrated an inclusive documentary perspective in his efforts to photograph many aspects of the world around him. In 1942, Alonge established the Ideal Photography Studio in Benin City and documented colonial society, the establishment of churches and businesses, and the formation of new civic organizations and social groups like the Benin Social Club (1940s). As a commercial photographer, Alonge photographed individual and group portraits, preserving a visual record of the everyday lives and peoples of Benin City. Alonge's studio portraits illustrate how local Africans presented themselves to the camera and engaged with the practice of photography during the early to mid-twentieth century.
Title provided by EEPA staff.
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Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Philip, Prince, consort of Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1921- Search this
1.5 Cubic feet
1924 - 1981
Scope and Contents:
This collection covers the period 1924-81 and consists of exhibition catalogs, correspondence, photographs, slides, drawings, photostats, contracts, book proofs, and related biographical material on Lissim. Extensive material on the designer's work for the Sevres porcelain factory includes correspondence, original contracts, photographs of porcelains and designs for porcelains, slides, drawings, and invoices.
Most of the material relating to Sevres is in French. A copy of the brochure for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, 1925, is included, which features many of his designs. Also included are his designs for commencement caps and gowns, and other related ephemera for the City University of New York's City College.
The collection contains a mock-up of his 1952 publication, "How to be an Artist", which describes different techniques and how to apply them to greeting cards, porcelains, and textiles. Copies of the introduction and biographical sections of his book "An Artist's Interpretation of Nature", published in 1958 are included.
A scrapbook consists of articles, reviews, personal correspondence, press releases, and brochures. Among Lissim's personal correspondence are letters exchanged with Prince Philip of England, an avid collector of his work. Material on Lissim's work for the theater consists of exhibition brochures, correspondence, and lists of institutions in possession of his work. In addition, the collection contains photographs of Lissim's designs for jewelry, flatware, and textiles.
Biographical / Historical:
Porcelain, theater, and metalwork designer. Born, Kiev, Russia, 1900. Lissim left Russia in 1919 and moved to Paris where he resided until 1940. In all of Lissim's designs, his appreciation for nature is apparent in his use of fish, birds, flowers, and other motifs.
In 1921, he began designing scenery and costumes for the Theatre de l'Oeuve in Paris. In 1924, he created his first designs for the Sevres porcelain factory. His relationship with Sevres lasted for more than 40 years and some of his designs are still being produced. His work achieved a gold medal at the 1929 Exposition Internationale Des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Barcelona. Lissim made his first journey to the United States in 1935, and by 1936, his designs for the theater were featured in exhibitions in this country. His porcelains were featured in exhibitions at The Smith College Museum of Art, 1939, and Georg Jensen, Inc., 1941.
Lissim became Head of the Art Education Project at the New York Public Library in 1942. In 1947 he began teaching at the City Univerity of New York's City College campus, where he also designed commencement costumes for the Chancellor, President, and Chief Marshal. In 1952, Lissim became an art consultant for Castleton China, Inc. in New Castle, Pennsylvania. His work was featured in the exhibition, "A Designer's Interpretation of Nature", held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1953. In 1954, Lissim created his first silver pieces of jewelry and flatware manufactured by Carl Sorensen & Son, Copenhagen, Denmark. In the early 60s, Lissim created three designs for plates that were executed by Claude Boulme. He continued to work and hold exhibitions at his studio in Dobbs Ferry, New York, until his death in 1981.
Related Archival Materials:
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Applied Arts Department
A Lenox vase, plates, cups, and saucers. A sterling silver pin, paperweight, and cutlery.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Department of Drawings and Prints
Designs for plates, vases, and other porcelain pieces, silver cutlery, stage designs, playing cards, and greeting cards. Drawings of commencement robes, a gavel, and a mace designed for City College. Poster for the Musée Céramique de Sévres.
Additional archival materials can be found at The New York Public Library, Theater Division; City University of New York, City College Archives; and Columbia University Libraries, Bakhmeteff Archive, New York City.
Porcelains designed by Lissim are in the collections of the following museums: Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; and The Museum of the City of New York, New York City, among others.
These materials were donated to Cooper-Hewitt by the museum's former Curator of Drawings and Prints, Elaine Evans Dee, in 1996. Transferred to the Archives Center in 2012.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Wildlife crisis [by] Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and James Fisher. Forewords by the Prince of the Netherlands and Peter Scott. Epilogue by Stewart L. Udall. Published with the cooperation of the World Wildlife Fund
Philip Prince, consort of Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain 1921- Search this