Nafisi Family Photograph Albums of Qajar Iran
Digitized Content

Collection ID:
Abdullah Mirza Qajar, 1850-1909
Iranian languages
Physical Description:
2 photograph albums
black and white photographic prints

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Two albums: Album No. 1 contains 65 nineteenth century albumen photographs of medium size, the largest measuring 16.4 x 23.5 cm. Album No. 2 contains 44 albumen photographs of larger size, the largest measuring 20.9 x 26.6 cm. The photographs appear to be largely of the same vintage, possibly as early as the 1860s, although some may date ten years later. Subject range includes landscapes, palaces, ethnic groups and individual portraits. The smaller album is bound in green tinted leather; the larger is bound in bright green velvet.

Two separate albums.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Abdullah Mirza Qajar was the son of Jahangir Mirza Qajar. He was born in 1266 lunar calendar year (1850 CE). He had 2 brothers and 3 sisters. He was the father of four children: three daughters and one son. Abdullah studied at Dar-ol-Fonoon, a polytechnic school, during the reign of Nasereddin Shah. He then went on to study in Paris around 1295 lunar year (1878 CE). After one and a half years in Paris, he went on to Vienna and was shortly sent to study in Salzburg. He was in Salzburg for just over three years. During these years, he described in his writings about the techniques he learned. These included zincography, phototypy, photolithography and galvanoplastic. After these studies, he returned to Vienna and began his journey back to Tehran. Initially upon his return, he worked on printing maps of Ahvaz and other towns, which he presented to the court. His business in the printing field was not very successful, thus he focused his efforts on photography. His first works as photographer in the Qajar court date back to 1300 lunar year (1883 CE). He went on assignment to Khorasan, then in 1304 lunar (1887 CE) to Rey and Qom to photograph new buildings there. He also had assignments in many other areas, such as Tabriz, Kermanshah, Mashad and Kashan. During his years as court photographer, he also continued taking pictures at Dar-ol-Fonoon, of the students in uniform, and of other subjects. After Nasereddin Shah's death in 1314 lunar (1897 CE), he did not receive many orders and felt disappointed. Although his business suffered, he continued to work under Mozaffareddin Shah, who was quite fond of Abdullah. Mozaffareddin Shah took Abdullah as special photographer to Europe with him in 1317 and 1320 lunar year (1900 CE and 1903 CE). Abdullah Mirza was often written about during his time as a very well educated and well accomplished photographer. He died in 1326 lunar year(1909 CE).

Local Numbers
Local Numbers
FSA A2010.05

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Photograph albums of Qajar Iran. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Azar Nafisi in honor of Massumeh Farhad
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Gift of Azar Nafisi in honor of Massumeh Farhad, 2010

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Iranians Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Iran Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tehran (Iran) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photograph albums -- 19th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographic prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 1850-1900 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013