Alais (Gard): Chez l'auteur, 1878. First edition. Oblong 4to. ,  leaves of text, followed by 50 leaves of hinged card stock with printed titles, each with 2 albumen photographs 75mm x 95mm, recto mounted, interleaved with guards with printed captions in French, English and German. Bound in the publisher's gilt stamped red pebble cloth, which is slightly faded, backed with red morocco, titled and decorated in gilt; all edges gilt. The mounts are warped from the tension of the mounted photographs, as is normal with this title and style of presentation, and there is occasional light soiling to mounts. The front hinge is slightly weak; there is an owner's name stamp on the front flyleaf, and there are a few short tears to the rear flyleaf. The albumen photographs are bright, sharp and full toned. A very good copy. Item #54301
Félix Bonfils (1831 - 1885) was a prolific French photographer, said to have learned photography from Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor ca. 1866-67, and one of the first to have a commercial studio in the Middle East, having arrived in Beirut with his family in 1867. The studio produced thousands of landscapes, architectural studies, portraits and posed scenes, largely for the tourist trade. In the 1870s, he began publishing a series of albums of original photographs from the Middle East. In 1878, from his studio in Alais (now Alès), he published his best known work, Souvenirs d'Orient, containing photographs from Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Greece.