[ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH] 744: Vieux serail. [i.e. Old Seraglio]
ABDULLAH FRERES (Viçen, Hovsep and Kevork Abdullaiyan), (Turkish photographers of Armenian origin), (1820-1918)., Abdullah Freres., [Constantinople], [ca. 1890].
Original albumen print photograph by Abdullah Biraderler mounted on cardboard. Size: 26x34 cm; photographic size: 20x26 cm. Interior of the Topkapi Palace.
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. The 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, the 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.