James Robertson. Photographs of Grecian Antiquities
Benaki museum Main Building |

James Robertson (1813-1888) was one of the major exponents of photography in the 19th century. Of Scottish extraction, he was an engraver and in 1841 was invited by Sultan Abdulmecid to take up the position of chief engraver at the Imperial mint at Constantinople. There, at the start of the eighteen fifties, he took his first steps as a photographer. Using Constantinople as his launching pad – he lived there for forty years – he carried out photographic tours of Athens in 1853-54 and again 1856; Malta in 1856; the Holy Lands, Egypt and Damascus in 1857; while alongside his famous colleague Roger Fenton he covered the Crimean War (1854-55) and the events of Sebastopol (1855-56). After 1881 he settled in Yokohama, where he lived out his days. The exhibition presents of his 38 photographs, which were included in the portfolio: “Photographs by James Robertson: Athens and Grecian Antiquities”, dating from 1853-54, on the basis of similar portfolios of other museum collections. This portfolio was gifted to the Benaki Museum Photographic Archive in 1989 by Rena Andreadi. This collection of photographs constitutes a unique archive of visual evidence to the condition of the monuments in Athens in the period following the Greek War of Independence. It also constitutes an exceptional group of rare exemplars exhibiting the techniques and aesthetics of photographic art at this time.

to 21/8/11

Benaki Museum

main Building

1 Koumbari St. & Vas. Sofias Ave.
tel 210 367 1000
fax 210 367 1063

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