Rare album of Egyptian photos found in Meath
Collection estimated at €700-€1,200 contains images ‘of Egyptian and Islamic interest’
One of the 38 photographs from 19th century Egypt that are up for auction at Matthews
An album of late 19th-century photographs of Egypt has come to light in Co Meath and will be auctioned in Matthews Auction Rooms in Oldcastle on Tuesday evening. In the 1870s, Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire but the British had a stake – and say – in running the country, having loaned huge sums for the building of the Suez Canal. The album, estimated at €700-€1,200, contains 38 photographs “of Egyptian & Islamic interest”. Auctioneer Damien Matthews said the photographs – some in rare large-plate format – “not only depict Egypt during this interesting time in her history, but rarer still, depict Egyptian Muslim life at that time” and the “original, dated library plate on the inside front cover of the album attests to the date of their execution (1877)”. He said “the condition of the photographs themselves is superb, due to their being preserved within the original semi-leather bound album made for them at the time.”
The photographs were brought home to Ireland by Michael Law, of the Rossnaree Estate near Slane, Co Meath. He was an officer in the British army’s Scots Guards regiment and served in Egypt during the 1870s.