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A Pair of Enormous Panoramic Views of Constantinople Taken From Opposite Sides of the Golden Horn

(ISTANBUL.) Sebah & Joaillier.. Panorama of Constantinople, Taken from the Galata Tower.

Istanbul: Sebah & Joaillier, c. 1880s

10 albumen prints (each approx. 10 3⁄4×133/8in., for a total of 10 3⁄4 x 134 in.) mounted on card, folded concertina-style. Oblong folio. Modern red morocco. Lightly faded at joints, but generally in excellent condition with strong contrasting tones.

This magnificent pair of panoramic photographs of Istanbul, measuring 11 ft. and 8 1⁄2 ft. respectively, provides sweeping views of the great buildings, monuments, and geographical features of the city. These include the city walls and seven towers, Süleymaniye Mosque, Sultanahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Golden Horn, and the Bosphorus. The images also capture domestic and commercial architecture, daily street life, bridges, and the bustling waterway of the Golden Horn. The two towers from which these images are taken are prominent in the centers of their respective panoramas.

The first series of photographs, a 10-part panorama, looks across Beyoglu (the European side of modern-day Istanbul known until the 20th century as Pera) and the Golden Horn toward the ancient city with its great mosques. This series of photographs was taken from the top of the fourteenth-century Galata Tower. The panorama is by Sebah & Joaillier, one of the most distinguished photography firms in late 19th-century Constantinople.


(ISTANBUL.) Berggren, G.
Panorama of Constantinople, Taken from the Tower of Seraskierat.
[Istanbul: G. Berggren, c. 1880s].

8 albumen prints (each approx. 10 1⁄2 x13in., for a total of 10 1⁄2 x 103in.), unmounted, signed in the negative in the rightmost photograph. Lightly faded at edges, but generally in very good condition.

The second panoramic view, an 8-part panorama, looks out across the old city and the Golden Horn toward the Galata Tower. This series of photographs was made from Beyazit Tower, a 279 ft. tall fire-watch tower on the main campus of present-day Istanbul University. This tower, on the former location of the Ottoman Ministry of War, or Seraskierat, is also known as the Tower of Seraskierat.

The panorama is by Guillaume Berggren, the Swedish photographer who opened a studio in Constantinople in the early 1870s. Although Berggren’s smaller format panoramas turn up in the market occasionally, this large 8-part panorama, measuring 8 1⁄2 ft. long, is rarely seen for sale. “Berggren was a master of technique and composition, and produced some of the finest scenes of Istanbul and the Bosphorus” (Hannavy).

Together these enormous panoramic photographs present a remarkable survey of the geography and architecture of Istanbul, prior to the onset of a century of dramatic change.