|A carte-de-visite portrait of an Egyptian wearing the sort of costume favoured by women within the walls of their own home.
An inked inscription verso in a period hand, reads ‘Egyptienne, 1869’.
Photographed by Royer & Aufière of Cairo. The backplate mentions Désiré as the successor of Royer and Aufière, and he is also credited recto in the lower margin. If Ken Jacobson is correct (see below) that the partnership of Royer and Aufière had left Egypt by 1865, it seems odd that Désiré was still giving them precedence in the design of his backplate in 1869, the date inscribed on the back of nearly all these mounts. In fact, the date probably refers to the year that the cartes were bought, and not to the year they were manufactured, meaning that many of them would have been printed earlier than 1869 and had been in stock for four or five years by the time they were bought.
’[Louis] Royer and [Clovis] Aufière had a partnership in Cairo probably during the early 1860’s. The work of this pair is rare and identified photographs have consisted mostly of cartes-de-visite portraits of native types taken in the studio, some of which are beautifully composed. They are also important as they represent examples of early photographic representations of native people. Royer and Aufière were succeeded by Ermé Desiré. As Desiré is listed as being in Cairo from 1865, it seems likely that Royer and Aufière had only a short career in Egypt. In about 1863, Royer opened a studio 15, rue Cannebière in Marseilles and was joined there by Aufière in around 1865.’
The above paragraph is taken from Ken Jacobson’s Odalisques and Arabesques: Orientalist Photography 1839-1925 (Quaritch, 2007):
Many of the cartes-de-visite on this page bear inscriptions in the same nineteenth-century hand and are nearly all dated 1869. It seems likely that were all originally acquired at the same time and from the same stockist.
condition: The print shows a small amount of damage to its upper and lower right-hand corners.
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