Vicinity of Shahr-i Ray (Iran): Chasman-i-ali Mound: Qajar Rock Relief Depicting Fath Ali Shah [graphic]
Title and summary note are provided by Shabnam Rahimi-Golkhandan, FSg curatorial research specialist.
Glass negative numbered FSA A.4 2.12 GN.00.11; available in Myron Bement Smith Collection, ca. 1910-1970.
Antoin Sevruguin is one of the early pioneers of commercial photography in Iran. He arrived in Iran from Tbilisi, Georgia in the mid 1870s to set up shop in Ala al-Dawla street in Tehran. From the early days, Sevruguin's studio was trusted both by the Qajar court and by foreign visitors to Iran. Highly regarded for their artistic ingenuity outside Iran, Sevruguin's photographs of 'ethnic types,' architecture and landscape, and depictions of daily life of Tehran found their way into foreign travelogues, magazines and books. As such, he stands alone in a relatively large group of early Iranian photographers for being recognized and celebrated outside the boundaries of the country. Antoin Sevruguin passed away in 1933, although his family studio continued for some time as a commercial enterprise.
Antoin Sevruguin photographs in the Myron Bement Smith collection are part of the "Islamic Archives," a collection assembled in part by the Committee for Islamic Culture under the direction of architectural historian Myron Bement Smith (1897-1970). The widow of Myron Bement Smith, Katharine Dennis Smith, donated her husband's papers to the Smithsonian Institution in 1972. The collection was housed in the National Museum of Natural History. Mrs. Smith granted partial rights of the materials to the Institution in 1973 and full rights, interests, and title in 1985. The collection was transferred to the Freer Gallery in 1977.
According to the official minutes of the fourth meeting of the Committee for Islamic Culture, held on September 15, 1951, Myron Bement Smith viewed and purchased 82 black-and-white gelatin silver photoprints of part of Antoin Sevruguin's negatives when he visited Sevruguin's shop in Tehran (Iran) in 1934.
"The image is of a rock relief of Qajar period in the route from Tehran to Chishma Ali, one of the Qajar kings' favorite camping spots. The relief echoes the Sassanian tradition of depicting their kings in the rock relief. In the case of this one, Fath Ali Shah is surrounded by sixteen of his sons, the name of each of which is inscribed beside the carved heads. the relief includes two sets of inscriptions: a qasida by Andalib and verses by the head of the chancellery, Mirza Muhammad Taqi Aliabadi (Sahib-i Divan). The relief was ordered in 1830-1831, probably by Fath Ali Shah." [Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Curatorial Research Assistant]
- On recto of the print, faded handwritten number (inked, probably by Antoin Sevruguin) reads, "817."
- On recto of the print, scratched handwritten number (inked, probably by Antoin Sevruguin) reads, "131."
- On verso of the print (lower left corner), original stamp, in French and Persian, reads, "Photographie Sevruguin."
- On verso of the print, Myron Bement Smith caption in English reads, "Persia; Tehrān; "Chasme Ali? [at Shah Abdul Azim]"; rock relief."
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Organization: Gelatin silver prints organized by Myron B. Smith into subject categories (People; Architecture - Pre-Islamic; Royalty - Residences - Gulistan Palace (Tehran; Architecture; Landscapes). This print is in the following subject category: Architecture - Qajar
Cite as: Myron Bement Smith Collection: Antoin Sevruguin Photographs. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Gift of Katherine Dennis Smith, 1973-1985
Repository Loc.: Shelf 7: Box 5, Folder 10
Repository Loc.: Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, 1050 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20013-7012
Uniform title: Early Photography of Iran
Subject: Sevruguin, Antoin -1933
Subject: Smith, Myron Bement 1897-1970
Subject: Islamic Archives
Local number: [18(E2)]
Local number: FSA A.4 2.12.Sm.40
Physical description: 1 photographic print : b&w ; 24 cm. x 18 cm
See more items in: Myron Bement Smith collection 1899-1962
See more items in: Myron Bement Smith Collection, Subseries 2.12: Antoin Sevruguin Photographs
Place: Ray (Iran)
Restrictions & Rights: Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment: AVRreference@si.edu
Restrictions & Rights: Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository