Ca. 1869. Unusually large professional photographic prints of the building of the Suez Canal, measuring 14 x 10", in very good condition, not signed, but likely by Justin Kowzlowski, a Polish photographer with a studio in Port Said who took documentary photographs of the excavation work for the Suez Canal Company.
The albumen photographs show the construction of the canal, imposing buildings in the vicinity, and the railway networks which transported materials and supplies.
Images of buildings include: a large brick two story building at track side, with clock tower (administrative building?); an elegant waterside two story residence, with servants and horse at the front veranda; and a one story whitewashed residence at water side.
Construction images include: a massive stone block being hoisted by a pulley onto a specially designed open railway car for transport to the site; view of a small harbor and jetty with several construction vessels including one transporting 10 of the large stone blocks, and another marked "Alexandria Harbour Works"; a railway siding, warehouse in the right foreground and countless rows of the massive stone blocks stretching into the distance; and an image of 4 two story wooden structures aligned with the railway tracks with hand operated hoists and numerous local workers loading construction materials in sacks and baskets onto open railway cars marked "C. & Co."
Construction of the Suez Canal officially began on April 25, 1859 under French engineer and diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps.
Low paid and forced Egyptian laborers using picks and shovels did the initial hand digging; this was eventually replaced by steam and coal powered dredgers, excavators, and other machines. Rather than digging the open-cut canal straight across the isthmus (about 75 miles), the builders adopted a route that made use of existing lakes. The Suez Canal opened about 10 years after construction began, on November 17, 1869.
The prints have no studio markings. They are very professional images documenting the work in progress. Bright and clean, 14 x 10", laid onto 4 large album pages 17 1/4 x 14", front and back. Very good + condition. Item #26127