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A RARE 1918 PHOTOGRAPH BY GABRIEL BRETOCQ OF TWO EGYPTIANS POSING AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE COPTIC QUARTER IN CAIRO

August 8, 2012

Figure 1: “Entrée du quartier copte, deux Egyptiens posant (Two Egyptians Posing at the Entrance to the Coptic Quarter), Cairo, 1918, by Gabriel Bretocq.

 

Figure 2: The French photographer Father Gabriel Bretocq (1873 – 1961).

 

Gabriel Bretocq (1873 – 1961) was a French Catholic priest who was member of the French Society of Archaeology and a historian. In the early twentieth century, Bretocq contributes to photographic census of the ecclesiastical heritage of Normandy, his native region. In 1918, he left to the Middle East, in the footsteps of the Crusaders. During a journey of 4 years (1918-1922), touring many countries in the region, including Egypt, he captured in brilliant photographs peoples, streets, monuments, landscapes, etc., of the Orient. Perhaps his most valued contribution of his is the visual recording of a vanished world: the ancient and mythical Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia; shelter for some two hundred thousand Armenians who survived the 1915 Armenian genocide by the Turks.

I could identify only one photograph by Bretocq with a Coptic theme from the ones I reviewed, but I am sure there are many that one hopes would be identified later. The photograph, which I simply reproduce above, is titled “Entrée du quartier copte, deux Egyptiens posant (Two Egyptians Posing at the Entrance to the Coptic Quarter), Cairo, 1918. It has published electronically by by Ministère de la Culture, Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, France.

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