British photographic history

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Exhibition: Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East

In 1862, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) was sent on a four-month educational tour of the Middle East, accompanied by the British photographer Francis Bedford (1815-94). This exhibition documents his journey through the work of Bedford, the first photographer to travel on a royal tour. It explores the cultural and political significance Victorian Britain attached to the region, which was then as complex and contested as it remains today. 

The tour took the Prince to Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. He met rulers, politicians and other notable figures, and travelled in a manner unassociated with royalty – by horse and camping out in tents.  On the royal party’s return to England, Francis Bedford’s work was displayed in what was described as ‘the most important photographic exhibition that has hitherto been placed before the public’. 

The photographs, which belong to the Royal Collection, will form part of this new exhibition to be held at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, from March 8, 2013. Further details can be found here and you can read some info here too.

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