Louis Vignes Chemin de Damas, Beyrouth, Lebanon
Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Photo Date 1864 Print Date 1864-65
Dimensions 8-3/4 x 10-3/4 in. (222 x 273 mm)
Photo Country Lebanon
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Umbrella pine trees on the road to Damascus near Beyrouth, Lebanon.
A modernist and very rich untrimmed print. Number reversed on negative #45. Printed by Charles Negre with untrimmed wide black margins (not shown completely in scan). Only four prints are known of this image and all its variants. The other two are in prominent 19th-century collections. One other is in the French Bibliotheque Nationale without the margins and is reproduced in the book by Sylvie Aubenas Voyage en Orient, page 166. One close variant sold for 82,000 euros, plus premium, at auction (May 2007, collection Duchesse de Berry, Choppin de Janvry & Associés, lot 100).
Vignes accompanied the Duc de Luynes an archaeologist, numismatist and art collector on a trip to Lebanon and Palestine in 1864, despite of or because of his passionate amateur status as a photographer. He took calotypes to record key places. No more than 10 prints are known to exist. Luynes was highly interested in archeology, numismatics, art, architecture and photography; and he collected all of these articles. He sponsored a major contest for the first method of easy printing of photography and also sponsored numerous photographers and their work, often bringing photographers on his travels, such as this one. He also sponsored the Bisson brothers on their trip to Italy to document the major architectural ruins and important building there. The duke's collection of 19th-century photography is considered the most important such collection of that period. Provenance: from the collection of Duc de Luynes; through his heirs.
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