View of Beirut, Looking Towards Body of Water


This image by the firm of Maison Bonfils depicts the city of Beirut, Lebanon, sometime in the last third of the 19th century. Maison Bonfils was the extraordinarily prolific venture of French photographer Félix Bonfils (1831-85), his wife Marie-Lydie Cabanis Bonfils (1837-1918), and their son, Adrien Bonfils (1861-1928). The Bonfils moved to Beirut in 1867 and, over the next five decades, their firm produced one of the world's most important bodies of photographic work about the Middle East. Maison Bonfils was known for landscape photographs, panoramas, biblical scenes, and posed “ethnographic” portraits. The family’s marketing acumen and commercial sense helped make their photographs known around the world.

Last updated: April 18, 2012