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Maison et Jardin du quartier Franc, au Kaire

Maxime Du Camp (French, 1822–1894)

January 9, 1850
Salted paper print from paper negative
21.2 x 14.9 cm (8 3/8 x 5 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) arrived with Maxime Du Camp in Cairo at the end of November 1849. The two friends stayed at the Hôtel du Nil for two months before embarking on their journey to Upper Egypt. They enjoyed the local color, dressed as Egyptians, smoked the narghile, and indulged in all the pleasures available to well-to-do uninhibited young men in search of new experiences.
    The twenty-seven-year-old Flaubert had started the journey in a state of depression over his friends' negative response to his first literary effort, the initial draft of "The Temptation of Saint Anthony." During the voyage he would seem to Du Camp bored and aloof, though he was willing to help the photographer prepare his plates. Flaubert staunchly refused, however, to be photographed, and Du Camp was able to take only one picture of him, on January 9, 1850, brooding in the garden of the hotel in a white Nubian cotton shirt, his shaved head adorned with a bright red tarboosh. Du Camp would write later that, to Flaubert, the Egyptian temples all seemed alike and the mosques and landscapes all the same. Despite his seeming indifference, however, Flaubert was amassing a wealth of impressions that would later find their way into such works as his Carthaginian novel "Salammbô" (1862) and the final version of "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" (1874). It was also during this voyage that Flaubert first started to imagine "some deep, great intimate story. . .a passion like a sickness . . ." which would take place in an obscure French provincial town. It was on a cliff overlooking the second cataract at the southernmost part of the journey that he came up with the name of his heroine, Emma Bovary, suggested by the name of M. Bouvaret, one of the owners of the Hôtel du Nil.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in ink on mount, recto BL: "Egypte."; inscribed in ink on mount, recto BC: "Maison et Jardin du quartier Franc, au Kaire."; inscribed in ink on mount, recto BR: "No. 4."; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BRC: "3".

  • Provenance

    Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (presumed); André Jammes, Paris; [Graphics International, Ltd., Washington, D.C.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, September 1, 1978

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History