Old Recife


The Thereza Christina Maria collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II (1825-91) throughout his life and donated by him to the National Library of Brazil. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America. The port city of Recife, which appears in this photograph, was one of the earliest settlements in Brazil. Established in the late 1500s by the Portuguese, it was under Dutch control for part of the 17th century. Early Recife boasted a sizable Jewish population and was also an entry point for many African slaves. The influence of this mix of cultures on Recife’s character continued into the 19th century, when this picture was taken by Mortiz Lamberg, who worked in the studio of Alberto Henschel. The German-born Henschel was one of Brazil’s most prolific portrait photographers. Lamberg later became a respected photographer in his own right, publishing the photography book Brasilien.

Last updated: May 24, 2017