[France, 1875. Oblong small folio. Thirty-two mounted albumen photographs, ranging from 4½ x 6½ to 9½ x 13½ inches. Contemporary half morocco and cloth, gilt title on upper cover, spine gilt, marbled endpapers A rare album of early photographs of Saigon, Vietnam. The first image is a portrait of a high-ranking military officer with Cambodian script in the lower margin. Other subjects include: eleven views of the Norodom Palace from various angles; three views of shipping operations in the port and river; two of a large three-mast ship in dry dock; one of a passenger river steamer; one showing hundreds of laborers working on a canal; two are captioned Convent de Carmelites; and the remainder show various scenes around the city. The album lacks photographer credits save for the photographs of the palace, with "Jugant" signed in the negative, likely the French military photographer M. Jugant who was working in Saigon at the time. The album likely dates to the late 1870s, as the palace was completed in 1875. The images of the palace, however, differ in style, size, and quality from many of the others, which seem similar in style to images made by French artist Emile Gsell (1838-1879), who produced many early images of Saigon and Cochinchina in the 1860s and 1870s. Hong Kong photographer Pan Lun also had a branch in Saigon and was active circa late-1860s to 1880s. Photographer's credits aside, these striking early images of Saigon are rare and important.
(Inventory #: 29678)
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