VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHS OF COPTIC CHURCHES IN THE 19TH CENTURY BY THE FRENCH PHOTOGRAPHER, FELIX BONFILS

ON COPTIC NATIONALISM في القومية القبطية

Félix Bonfils, or Paul Félix Bonfils, (1831 – 1885), was a brilliant French photographer who documented life in the second half of the 19th century in the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece and Constantinople. In 1878 he published a photographic album, Egypt and Nubia. I have not seen the book, but I tried to gather as many photos by him with Coptic themes. Unfortunately, I could not find any pictures of Copts – only the interior of some of their churches. There is one photo of the Coptic Cathedral of Saint Mark in Azbakiyya; three of the Church of Saint Barbara in Old Cairo; and one of the Church of Abu Serja (Saint Sergius), Old Cairo.

I certainly would hope that more of his photos on the subjects would appear in the future with more searching. I have not been able to establish the year…

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