The famous and ancient Cedars of Lebanon feature in religion, mythology and medicine, and their forests are thought to have once covered large expanses of the mountains of the Near East. By the time of this photograph the remaining trees were to be found on the western slopes of the Lebanon mountain ranges.
This would appear to be the same tree as that photographed by others after Girault de Prangey, including Ernest Benecke. Their massive irregular-shaped heads and wide solid trunks command attention and Girault de Prangey made at least five attempts to record these impressive trees. One example is now in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Four others, of which this is one, remain in the photographer's archive, one dated 1844. From these it can be seen that the subject proved a considerable challenge to the artist, probably because of the high contrast of the bright sky area behind the heavy dark mass of the tree bark. In this example, although like the others, not technically perfect, he achieves a compromise solution, in which the largest tree in the foreground stands out proudly from the more solarised background.
Girault de Prangey also painted the cedars of Lebanon, see Quettier, P. et al., Girault de Prangey 1804-1892, p. 51 for an illustration.