[MIDDLE EAST / CONSTANTINOPLE / ARCHITECTURE] Porte du Palais de Dolma - Baghtche. [i.e. The gate of Dolmabahçe Palace]
ABDULLAH FRERES (Viçen, Hovsep and Kevork Abdullaiyan), (Turkish photographers of Armenian origin), (1820-1918), Abdullah Freres, [Constantinople], [ca. 1890].
Original albumen print. Mounted on thick cardboard. 25,5x19,5 cm. Descriptive text in French on the lower right corner with the photographer's name on the lower left.
A splendid early albumen print photograph of the gate of the treasury of the Dolmabahçe Palace, which is one of three gates. The palace is located on the European coast of the Bosporus strait and served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1887 and from 1909 to 1922.
The Abdullah Frères were a group of three Ottoman brothers of Armenian descent, Viçen Abdullahyan (1820-1902), Hovsep Abdullahyan (1830-1908), and Kevork Abdullahyan (1839-1918), who were photographers of international fame during the late Ottoman Empire. They took pictures of scenic views and notable individuals, including sultans. Most of their photography was of the Ottoman Empire. Viçen (later known as Abdullah Sükrü after converting to Islam) began his photographic career touching up photos for Rabach, who opened his photography studio in 1856 in the Bayazid district of Constantinople. In 1858, when Viçen's younger brother Kevork returned from his studies at the Murad Raphaelian Armenian Academy in Venice, they and another brother Hovsep decided to take over Rabach's photography studio and open their own, The Abdullah Frères. In 1867, they sold their shop in Beyazid and moved to a more favorable location in Pera. Abdullah Frères subsequently became one of the most famous photographers in the Ottoman Empire. In 1863, Sultan Abdulaziz declared the Abdullah Frères as the official court photographers and Outstanding Artists of the City, an epithet they used until the closure of the shop in 1899. In 1886, at the request of the Khedive in Egypt, they opened a branch in Cairo, Egypt. Over their lengthy career, Abdullah Frères photographed numerous Ottoman Sultans, Ottoman statesmen such as Ibrahim Edhem Pasha and Osman Nuri Pasha, international figures such as Mark Twain, scenic views, and more.