The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

The Shah of Persia

The Shah of Persia

A carte-de-visite showing the Shah of Persia seated in an open-top state carriage with his Grand Vizier and Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The photograph was taken during the Shah’s visit to England in 1873.

This was the Shah’s first visit to Europe and there are many anecdotes recounting his autocratic and ‘Oriental’ ways. It is said that he offered to purchase a certain court beauty whose charms he admired. There is the tale of his astonishment on finding a picture of an ass priced at five hundred times the value of the animal itself. On another occasion, when he was travelling by rail, he was shown the communication cord for stopping the train; he immediately made use of it, since he wished the train to remain stationary while he took a nap – it was only with the greatest difficulty that he was made to understand that this couldn’t be allowed, even for the ‘King of Kings’.

Photographed by William and Daniel Downey of London and Newcastle.


Code: 125314
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© Paul Frecker 2019