• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 156

    MUHAMMAD SADIQ BEY (1832-1902)


    Price Realised  


    MUHAMMAD SADIQ BEY (1832-1902)
    Twelve albumen prints constituting eleven images, four signed in French 'Sadiq Bey', one signed in French and dated 'Sadiq Bey 1880', four signed in Arabic in the negative, six inscribed in Arabic on the mounts, one inscribed in Arabic on the reverse of the mount

    The views comprising:

    1. Mecca. View of the Court of the Great Mosque and Ka'ba and its surroundings
    signed in French 'Sadiq Bey' and in Arabic in the negative, inscribed in Arabic on the mount, 4 3/8 x 8¼in. (11.1 x 20.9cm.)

    2. Mecca. The Haram, during prayers
    signed in Arabic in the negative (signature in possibly French 'Sadiq Bey' lower left erased), inscribed in Arabic on the mount, 6½ x 8 3/8in. (16.5 x 21.2cm.)

    3. Mecca. The Hamadiyah: Government House
    inscribed in Arabic on the reverse of the mount, 6¾ x 8¼in. (17.1 x 20.9cm.)

    4. Mecca. The arrival of the Egyptian Mahmal
    while this is not signed, it is precisely the image Sadiq Bey reproduces in his book on the Haj (see below) and can therefore be confidently attributed to him, 6 7/8 x 8 3/8in. (17.4 x 21.2cm.)

    5.Mecca. Military Guard Station
    7 5/8 x 6 11/16in. (19.3 x 17cm.)

    6. Mecca. Entrance to the Military Guard Station at Asyad
    6¼ x 8 11/16in. (41.2 x 22cm.)

    7. Mecca. The Castle at Jabal Hindi
    two images forming a single panorama, each image 6½ x 6 9/16in. (16.4 x 16.6cm.), 6½ x 13 1/8in. (16.4 x 33.2cm.)

    8. Pilgrim Camp at Mount Arafat
    signed and dated in French 'Sadiq Bey 1880' and signed in Arabic in the negative, inscribed in Arabic on the mount, 5¼ x 8 5/8in. (13.3 x 21.9cm.)

    9. Medina. Interior view of the Mosque of the Prophet
    signed in French 'Sadiq Bey' and in Arabic in the negative, inscribed in Arabic on the mount, 8¼ x 6 3/8in. (20.9 x 16.2cm.)

    10. Medina.
    signed in French 'Sadiq Bey' and in Arabic in the negative, inscribed in Arabic on the mount, 5 7/16 x 8 3/8in. (13.8 x 21.3cm.)

    11. View of the pilgrim's camp at Medina
    signed in French 'Sadiq Bey' and in Arabic in the negative, inscribed in Arabic on the mount, 6 1/16 x 7¾in. (15.3 x 19.7cm.)

    With: Muhammad SADIQ BEY. Dalil al-Hajj li al warid ila Makkah wa al-Madinah min kulli Fajj ['The Guide to the Hajj for its universal arriving visitors']. Cairo: 1896. 8° (211 x 154mm). Half-tone frontispiece portrait of the author and 8 plates after his photographs of Mekka, Medina and the Mahmal, 3 plans. (Severe staining to earlier leaves, mainly marginal but also affecting text of the first 14 leaves, the same leaves with crude marginal restoration.) Modern hessian. (2)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766


    The collection includes some of the images from Sadiq Bey's Collection de Vues Photographiques de La Mecque et de Médine, the set of 18 views which won the photographer the gold medal at the International Geography Exhibition in Venice in 1881, and advertised for sale by the Société Khédiviale de Géographie, excluding the multiple-sheet panoramas -- these subjects either missing or here as single plates -- and adds other scenes at Mecca and Medina not included in the Société's set.

    These extraordinary images record the Hajj, showing, often for the first time, some of the Holy sites around Mecca and Medina.

    Born in Cairo in 1832, Sadiq Bey trained as a military engineer after completing his studies in Cairo and at the École Polytechnique in Paris. It is not known when, or from whom, Sadiq Bey learned to take photographs but it was most probably through one of the resident photographers in Egypt. In 1861, prompted by the need to carry out more extensive military land surveys of the area between Wajh and Medina, Sadiq Bey made his first journey to Arabia. He took a camera along with his surveying equipment, and took his first photogrpahs of views at Medina. In a series of articles published in the Egyptian Military Gazette in 1877, he refers to his early photography at Medina describing the use of a 'photographia'. Sadly however, none of the photographs from this first journey are known to have survived.

    In 1880 he was appointed the treasurer of the Mahmal, the ornate cloth to cover the Ka'ba brought each year on a special litter to Mecca. In his capacity as treasurer he accompanied the Mahmal to Medina and Mecca from September 1880 until January 1881. Again equipped with his camera, he succeeded in producing the series of photographs which are offered here and which are now considered to be some of the earliest known surviving photographs of the region, those of the Ka'ba taken under great secrecy.

    In 1884 Sadiq made a third pilgrimage, again accompanying the Mahmal as treasurer. A detailed account of this journey can be found in The Star of the Hajj for the Mahmal's Journey by Sea and Land, published in Cairo in 1884. In 1902 Sadiq Bey was appointed governor of Arish but died later that year.

    Sadiq Bey published various accounts of his travels in Arabia in military journals and through the Emiry Grand Press in Cairo but the 1880/81 series of photographs appear to have been issued separately for a wider distribution through the Société Khédiviale de Géographie. The society's secretary, Dr Frederic Bonola, advertised sets of the photographs for sale. In January and April 1880 Sadiq Bey gave a talk and report to the society on his earlier 1861 expedition, and on 20 May 1881 he presented a report on his recent journey to Mecca; detailed accounts were published in the society's bulletins, numbers 9/10 and 12.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.