With thanks to “A Little Bird” for telling us to see this if we are in London. If  we miss this one, there will be more on their way…

EXHIBITION

Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East
Until February 22, 2015

In 1862 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert packed off their eldest son, the Prince of Wales (who became King Edward VII), on a four month educational tour of the Middle East. He was accompanied by a small entourage, which included the photographer Francis Bedford – the first to travel on a royal tour. The royal party travelled in a relatively informal way, mostly on horseback and they camped out in tents, so although Bedford’s photographs depict Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece from a perspective of privilege, they don’t feel at all narrow in range. Bedford concentrated on documenting the extraordinary sites the party visited, as well as the rulers and notable figures who welcomed the Prince, but he also took himself off-piste to photograph, for example, Albanian water carriers and Lebanese camp attendants. And anyway, it was because of Bedford’s position that he was allowed such access – he was one of the first people granted permission to photograph the Dome of the Rock, a place, like much of the Middle East, that most Britons could only imagine, before the Prince returned and the photographs were displayed in what was described as ‘the most important photographic exhibition that has hitherto been placed before the public.’ This exhibition, which is on until February 22nd at the wonderful Queen’s Gallery, may not be as seminal now as it was back in the mid-19th Century, but it’s still essential viewing. Bedford’s photographs are fascinating and moving, informative and evocative and they give you a great sense of yearning to visit Cairo and Constantinople and everywhere between, places which are as war-ravaged now as many were, as Bedford’s photographs show, in 1862.

What:
CAIRO TO CONSTANTINOPLE: EARLY PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
When:
ENDS FEBRUARY 22 2015. GALLERY OPEN DAILY: 10.00AM – 5.30PM
Where:
THE QUEEN’S GALLERY, BUCKINGHAM PALACE, SW1A 1AA
Price:
£9.75. UNDER 17/DISABLED: £4.95
Tel:
020 7766 7300
Website:
CAIRO TO CONSTANTINOPLE AT THE QUEEN’S GALLERY