Much has been made of the visit of HMQ to Turkey but this is nothing new or novel. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and his beautiful fiancée Princess Alexandra Christina visited and stayed in Istanbul in 1862 his trip to the Levant and Middle East from February to June, rturning on June 14th (see Illustrated London News 21st June), 623-624; 628.) In his party was Francis Bedford (1816 - 1894) an early photographer whom Queen Victoria appointed to tour the Middle East with the her son to record the trip for posterity. A little know aspect of how Royal patronage made an impact on the history and development of photography.
Bedford later published over 170 photographs taken on the tour as the grandly titled Photographic Pictures made by Mr. Francis Bedford during the Tour in the East, in which he Accompanied The Prince of Wales in 4 volumes published by Francis Day lithographers by Royal Warrant. These were exhibited at the German Gallery, Bond Street, London from July 23rd 1862 on the return of the Royal party as 10" x 12" albumen prints, see above. Bedford subsequently became a founding member of the Royal Photographic Society. For more see Holy Land Photographs and Their Worlds ,Francis Bedford and the ‘Tour in the East’ Linda Wheatley-Irving page 81 et seq . This was only the second exhibition given for one photographer , the first being H R Fenton's pictures of the Crimea war.
The British Embassy was even then in Beyoğlu and Amadeo Preziosi had a studio in Hammalbaşı Street opposite, which the royal couple visited. This had become a regualr calling point for travellers as E.H. Jerningham suggested in his ‘To and From Constantinople’ that “No one visiting Istanbul should leave without seeing Mr. Preziosi’s atelier for a perfect watercolor view of life on the [Galata] bridge. This artist, who possesses considerable talent, primarily in watercolor, has brought to life that unique Eastern color that permeates everything of the East, and in doing so has created a true souvenir of the things that most impressa traveller to Istanbul"
Amadeo Preziosi was born in Malta on 2 December 1816 and spent his childhood and youth there. His father, Count Gio François Preziosi, was a highly respected figure on the island and his title had been bestowed by King Victor Amadeu II, Duke of Sardinia and Savoy.
His father wanted him to take up the law but he studied under a then famous Maltese artist Guiseppe Hyzler and went later with his brother Leandro to study in paris. Later his wanderlust and a wish to escape his father took him to Istanbul where equipped with a British passport he had a steady and enjoyable life producing memorable street scenes, views and architectural watercolours and gouaches.
The visit of the Prince of Wales not only meant several of his works found their way into the Royal Collections but also enhanced his reputation amongst the English colony and his painting became so popular he produced 2 volumes of lithographs which are now prize items in any orientalists collection.
His painting are highly desired and today fetch handsome money at auction, in Bonham's sale on December 7th 2007 of Exploration, Travel & Topographical Pictures his watercolour "Market in the courtyard of the Mosque of Sultan Beyazid " sold for £20,400. They also have 4 lots 128- 131 in their forthcoming May 21st sale which are fairly undistinguished watercolours he must have churned out for passing travellers.
He died an untimely, unexpected and early death in 1882 when he was out hunting in Yeşilköy. In handing his gun to a servant, it slipped, fired and shot him , he died a few days later and is buried in the San Stefano Catholic Cemetery at Yeşilköy. Whilst his atelier long disappeared the garden of the mansion still exists on Teyyareci Nuri Bey Street in Yeşilköy.
Click on pictures to enlarge