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HOW THEY SAW THE COPTS: COPTIC FAMILY?

March 13, 2013

Autour du monde : aquarelles souvenirs des voyages[1] was published in Paris in the 1880s, and was edited by L. Boulanger. One of the photochrom prints[2] (Planche CCX) is labelled “Famille Copte”. I simply reproduce it here for my readers: it shows an elderly man with three female members of the family and a little child; in the background are the three pyramids and a canal. We have seen in previous articles that some figures in European art were labelled as Coptic, although the physiognomy, the dress and the insignia do not support that. I don’t know why but it is possible that a Coptic figure sold more. In any rate, it is possible that this “Famille Copte”, again, could represent an Arab sheikh with his family and not a Coptic family. However, the dark turban and robe of the man and the unveiled women may indicate the family’s Coptic identity. Here I reproduce the photochrom print:

Coptic familyFigure 1: Famille Copte, from Autour du monde : aquarelles souvenirs des voyages, 1880s (edited by L Boulanger).


[1] Around the World: watercolor memories of voyages.

[2] Photochrom prints are produced by direct photographic transfer of a black and white negative onto lithographic plates, these are then coloured.

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