A particularly dramatic example, with a remarkable red colour, of Gustave Le Gray's extremely rare Egyptian work.
Gustave Le Gray was the central figure in French photography of the 1850s - an artist of the first order, a teacher, and the author of several widely distributed instructional manuals. At age forty he closed his studio, left his wife and children and fled his creditors, travelling to the Middle East and settling in Egypt.
He joined Alexandré Dumas, setting sail from Marseille in May 1860, 'to see,' in Dumas' words: places famous in history and myth the Greece of Homer, of Hesiod, of Aeschylus, and of Augustus; the Byzantium of the Latin Empire and the Constantinople of Mahomed; the Syria of Pompey, of Caesar, of Crassus; the Judea of Herod and of Christ; the Palestine of the Crusades; the Egypt of the Pharaohs, of Ptolemy, of Cleopatra, of Mahomed, of Bonaparte to raise the dust of a few ancient civilizations.
Having settled in Egypt, Le Gray remained there for the last twenty years of his life, never returning to France.
Pictures from Gustave Le Gray's years in Egypt are exceptionally rare.
For more information on Le Gray's time in Egypt see Aubenas, Sylvie. Gustave Le Gray: 1820-1884 (Getty, 2002)