The Archeological Museum in Madrid is presenting an exhibition showcasing some of the most representative images and photographs from the museum’s archives, going back to the very first exhibition displayed at the MAN. The name of the exhibition, “Túnez en sepia” (Sepia-colored Tunisia) is a comprehensive collection of original photographs showing the customs and society of nineteenth-century Tunisia which were donated by the Bey of Tunisia himself.
Sepia-colored Tunisia: photographs from the 1892 European Historical Exhibition
National Archaeological Museum
This exhibition collects and highlights a series of existing photographs from the National Archaeological Museum since 1892, when they took part in the Historical-European Exhibition, when the building was inaugurated. The photographs, of Tunisian motifs, were exposed in room III, devoted to France, where objects of their colonies and from the protectorate of Tunisia had also been accommodated. They were arranged in twenty large displays on the walls, along with Spanish tapestries dedicated to the ancient history of this country and some other Turk, Tunisian and French items. Once the exhibition was over, the items were donated by the exhibitor, the Bey of Tunisia, to the Museum.
The research made, in addition to identifying places and monuments, also allows us to know the exact authorship of a large part of the photographs, which have been attributed to French photographer’s like J. Garrigues, Gervais Sc., Neurdein Freres and Albert & Co, and dated between 1850 and 1892. On the other hand, it has also allowed to document and relate them to some of the existing collections in other photo files as Alinari in Florence or Supino in Bologna.
Thanks to its wide and complex theme, which ranges from monuments from different historical periods, types and uses to views of cities and landscapes, they are an exceptional document not only historically and archaeologically but also as a means to discover the society and customs of nineteenth-century Tunisia.