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These photographs give a fascinating glimpse into ancient Egypt

Some of the first-ever travel photos are up for auction.
Sep 4th 2016, 1:00 PM 35,632 19

ONE OF THE world’s first set of travel photographs is up for auction and it’s expected to fetch up to $20,000 (close to €18,000).

The images — which are widely considered to mark the birth of travel photography — were captured by the French writer and photographer Maxime Du Camp during a trip to Egypt in 1849.

His work offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient Egypt long before the days of commercial tourism and selfie sticks.

Some 59 of the original 125 prints are currently up for auction on the Antiquarian Auctions website.

Du Camp travelled with his colleague Gustave Flaubert to Egypt in 1849 as part of a three-year archaeological expedition. His work was published in his book Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, and brought him instant fame.

du-camp-travelled-with-his-colleague-gustave-flaubert-to-egypt-in-1849-as-part-of-a-three-year-archaeological-expedition-his-work-was-published-in-his-book-egypte-nubie-palestine-et-syrie-and-brought-him-instant-fame The Temple of Dendera — one of the best preserved temple complexes in Egypt

Some 125 images were printed in the book upon his return to France in 1851. A short description accompanied each image.

125-images-were-printed-in-the-book-upon-his-return-to-france-in-1851-a-short-description-accompanied-each-image Source: The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III on the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt

The prints were bought by a South African family as collectables​ and have remained in their possession for generations. They showcase Egypt’s most famous landmarks long before the days of commercial tourism.

the-prints-were-bought-by-a-south-african-family-as-collectables-and-have-remained-in-their-possession-for-generations-they-showcase-egypts-most-famous-landmarks-long-before-the-days-of-commercial-tourism Source: The Sphinx and the Great Pyramids

The Temple of Isis, the Sphinx of Giza and the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III are among the iconic locations photographed on Du Camp’s travels.


Du Camp and Flaubert spent days camping in the heat of the Egyptian desert as they surveyed the landscape and the history of the country.


The photographs have been immaculately preserved, except in a few instances where some toning has weakened the contrast of the prints.

the-photographs-have-been-immaculately-preserved-except-in-a-few-instances-where-seldor-toning-has-weakened-the-contrast-of-the-prints The Temple of Isis built during the reign of Nectanebo I during 380-362 BC

They were captured just 30 years after the first-ever photograph was taken and the equipment was rudimentary at best, which makes this collection even more remarkable.

they-were-captured-just-30-years-after-the-first-ever-photograph-was-taken-and-the-equipment-was-rudimentary-at-best-which-makes-this-collection-even-more-remarkable The Mosquée d'Ali-bey

Although the pictures are expected to fetch around $20,000 (€18,000), past collections have sold for as much as $1,000 (about €900) per piece.

although-the-pictures-are-thought-to-fetch-around-20000-15096-past-collections-have-sold-for-as-much-as-1000-755-per-piece Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan near Cairo, Egypt

Du Camp was awarded the Legion of Honour in recognition of his achievements and work in the field of archaeology.

du-camp-was-awarded-the-legion-of-honour-in-recognition-of-his-achievements-and-work-in-the-field-of-archaeology The obelisks at the Palace of Karnak

All images:


Read: A photographer has captured Ireland’s most stunning GAA fields

Read: Working women, young soldiers and chemical warfare: A glimpse at World War II in colour

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