Beniamino Facchinelli Cairo's pictures. (1873-1895)

Photographie de Beniamino Facchinelli, album Malandrini, collections de la bibliothèque de l'INHA.

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This pluriannual research project between INHA-Invisu and BNF photography and prints and drawing department (partnership agreement is currently being examinated by the judicial department of BNF).

In the wake of the analysis of Cairo documentation collected by Jules Bourgoin and Emile Prisse d'Avennes (cf  digital content made available), the unit undertake the making of a catalogue raisonné of Beniamino Facchinelli Cairo's pictures. This photographer was active in Egypt from 1873 to 1895, he was the author of  important and original series of Cairo monumental photography, contrasting with the mainstream commercial production of his time.

His photographs of Cairo streets are the results of orders placed by French amateurs involved in the preservation of Cairo heritage monuments : architect Ambroise Baudry and archeologist Arthur Rhoné.

In its own way Facchinelli is kind of an "Cairo Atget", recording an endangered patrimonial heritage through photography (Nowadays a lot of these photographed monuments no longer exist). 

Some of these pictures (some anonymous, some bearing a dry stamp, others part of albums) are numbered as part of a coherent series.

The path of theses views is interesting because the photographs became part of specialized documentary collections. The Jacques Doucet collection at BINHA are composed of 177 pictures of  Cairo by Facchinelli ( unattributed until recently). It  was completed by a 177 photographs album from 1887 acquired in June 2013.

In 2012, 176 pictures of the Karkégi donation became part of the BNF photography and prints and drawing department. Other bundles are located in the Creswell collection of American university of Cairo, in Firenze Alinari archives, in the the London Victoria and Albert museum, the Geneva Max van Berchem foundation (225 pictures) and also at the Institut de France.

These photographs circulated in specialized circles and illustrated publications of Islamic art and Cairo monuments (works of Arthur Rhoné, Henri Saladin, Edmond Pauty, Henry Wallis, etc).

This project aims to rebuild the Cairo Monument's Facchinelli catalogue.

Browsing the Cairo photographs main collections, some 900 pictures have been spotted, for an estimated  number of 1200 pictures according to the higher record.

The collecting of the labels at the verso of these pictures, in the albums or the specialized files, allows, by cross-checking, the attribution of detailed visual identification to most of the images.

The purpose is to set up a vitual Facchinelli catalogue, with enhanced data, allowing the study of  Cairo patrimonial geography.

Enrichment of the database ( cataloging one item at the time in AGORHA, creation of geographical data in RAMEAU database), Organization of an exhibition in Roberto Longhi during January/March 2017 (a parallel event will be organized in Cairo). A final publication in cooperation with the BnF and INHA will be published with a digital geo-tagged presentation of the pictures.

Since May 2014, photographs curated at th BINHA were identified and their data were enhanced. Doucet, Ballu collections and the Malandrini album were recorded and described individually in the AGORHA database. 378 items are currently processed and uploaded in the database in order to be made available.  In June 2015 174 items were checked. In addition to the project, an international symposium on "Photographic capitals cities of 19th century" as part of Labex CAP COMUE HeSam was organized at INHA under the scientific direction of Jean-Philippe Garric (Paris I University ),  Sylvie Aubenas (BnF) and Mercedes Volait (InVisu).