This is a beautiful picture with the signature of Bonfils in the lower right corner of the photo and with the number 117 on it.
Bonfils is a French photographer that started his job as photographer having as teacher a nephew of Niepce.
He established in Beirut in 1867, so this picture, because of the style and material, belongs to his first years.
He had one of the most important photographic studios of the Middle East. He made portrait studio photos as well as pictures of monuments and places when he travelled to famous cities.
One of his master pieces is a book published by Ducher in 1872 with 100 vintage images of the Middle East.
His son and his grand-daughter continued working in his father's studio after his dead and until 1938.
Félix Bonfils (1831–1885), a French printer turned photographer, moved to Beruit in 1867 and opened a photographic studio. He photographed the cities and sites of the eastern Mediterranean including Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Greece, which he visited in 1868–1870 and again in the mid–1870s. His photographs of Greece were included in the albums Architecture Antique: égypte, Grèce, Asie Mineure. Album de photographies (1872) and Souvenirs dOrient (1878). Bonfils's wife Lydie, son Adrien, and daughter Félicie were all involved in the family business, which also employed numerous assistant photographers. Their firm became a very successful and prolific purveyor of commercial travel views, with distrubutors in Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem, Damascus, Port Said, Paris, and Basel. Adrien took over direction of photography expeditions in 1878, and ran the firm after his father's death until the late 1890s. Lydie then managed the firm, eventually selling it around 1909 to Abraham Guiragossian, who continued using the Bonfils name into the 1930s.
Exhibition Archive Photographic Recollections: Ancient and Islamic Monuments in the Near East 1850-1880
Some of the photographers featured, such as James Robertson, Felix Bonfils and Wilhelm Hammerschmidt, settled and established studios in Istanbul, Beirut or Cairo, to deal directly with the increasing numbers of travellers to the area. Other photographers, like Francis Frith, Frank Mason Good, Giacomo Brogi and Francis Bedford, undertook extensive and laborious expeditions to acquire their negatives, which they sold to the home market from catalogues, or, in the case of the Italian Brogi and the English Bedford, published in magnificent albums
.......L'atelier Bonfils, fondé à Beyrouth en 1867, est l'archétype de l'atelier familial prospère pendant des décennies (il fut vendu en 1918 à Abraham Guiragossian, associé depuis 1909). Félix, avec sa femme, Lydie, et leurs enfants, Adrien et Félicie, s'établit définitivement à Beyrouth en 1867 pour y pratiquer la photographie.....
......Ces vues sont vendues une par une au choix mais aussi rassemblées sous forme d'albums. Bonfils présente d'abord en 1872 son Architecture antique, publiée par Ducher à Paris. Mais il faut signaler tout particulièrement une série de cinq volumes intitulés Souvenirs d'Orient ..
....Certaines photographies sont l'œuvre du fils et d'autres d'assistants anonymes. Si l'ensemble du catalogue est intéressant, en particulier pour la Palestine et la Syrie, abondamment représentées alors que la production commerciale est en général plus fournie pour l'Égypte et la Turquie, la multiplicité des auteurs explique de sensibles fluctuations de qualité. ...........
L'Institut national d'histoire de l'art est un établissement public à
caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel (EPSCP), destiné à
promouvoir la recherche scientifique en histoire de l'art. Il est placé
sous la double tutelle des ministères de l'Enseignement supérieur et de
la Recherche et de la Culture et de la Communication.
THE LIGHT OF ANCIENT ATHENS: A Photographic Journey by Félix Bonfils, 1868–1875
..Viewed objectively, the Bonfils photographs provide valuable information about the condition of the ancient monuments and the urban landscape of Athens around 1870. In addition, they illustrate the most important stations on a traveler’s itinerary and the preferred points of view from which the monuments and city were to be seen. Taken together, the photographs construct an idealized city, more ancient than modern....
- Getty Museum
In Search of Biblical Lands: From Jerusalem to Jordan in Nineteenth-century Photography
As visitors increased, the Holy Land became a subject for the nascent medium of photography introduced in 1839. Rather than soaring vistas or monumental architecture, photographers captured a more modest scene: ancient villages nestled in a stony landscape, a once-great city subsiding within its walls, and people repeating patterns of life unchanged over millennia.