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Collection of Thirty-One Loose Original Gelatin Silver and Cyanotype Photographs of Tbilisi & Mtskheta Taken by the Amateur Photographer S. S. Didarov in the 1890s-1930s, Showing the Infamous Metekhi Prison, the Shah Ismail Mosque (the Largest Mosque in the Caucasus), Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Didube Temple of the Virgin Maryʹs Birth, the Church of the Red Gospel, Tbilisi Funicular, Old Metekhi & Avlabari Bridges, etc.; also with the Photos of High-Ranking Georgian Officials (Noe Zhordania, Noe Ramishvili, Noe Khomeriki, etc.), the Last Military Parade of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, Annual Epiphany-Day Celebrations, Local Merchants & Peasants, Residential Buildings, etc. Ca. 1890s-1920s.


Ca. 1890s-1920s

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Thirty one loose original gelatin silver and one cyanotype photographs, including three large photos ca. 12,5x17 cm (5 x 6 ¾ in) comprising a panorama, two large photos from ca. 15x20 cm (5 ¾ x 8 in) to ca. 12x17 cm (4 ¾ x 6 ¾ in), and the rest of the photos from ca. 9x11,5 (3 ½ x 4 ½ in) to ca. 6,5x9 (2 ½ x 3 ½ in); with eighteen photos mounted on period card (eight with period ink stamps on verso “Amateur Photographer S. S. Didarov” (In Russian); nine photos with period pencil or ink captions on recto or verso, including four photos with dates indicated. One photo lacks a small fragment in the upper right corner, ca. three photos with small, closed tears, a couple of photos very mildly faded, but overall a very good collection with strong photos.

An important collection of thirty-one photographs taken by the amateur photographer S. S. Didarov in the 1890s-1930s, capturing Georgia in the Russian Empire, during its brief period of independence (1918-1921), and as part of the Soviet Union. The photos (eight with period ink stamps “Amateur Photographer S. S. Didarov” on verso) were attributed to Didarov based on the digital photo archive of the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, which features the identical twenty-nine photographs credited to him (two other photos from our collection were also attributed to Didarov).  

The collection contains twenty-nine vibrant views of Tbilisi, including eight interesting photos of local landmarks – the Tbilisi funicular, the Didube Temple of the Virgin Maryʹs Birth, Alexander’s Garden, and the now-demolished Alexander Nevsky Cathedral & Mukhransky Bridge. Several candid urban scenes portray two peasants in local attire securing a bull to a wooden stick, uniformed militaries & merchants strolling along Metekhi bridge toward a nearby bazaar (with the Shah Ismail Mosque in the background), and a couple enjoying one of the earliest car rides in Georgia (the first car was imported in 1901).

Two rare photos capture the patriotic spirit of the last military parade held in the Democratic Republic of Georgia in 1920, celebrating two years of Georgian independence. Especially interesting is the image of the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament (Noe Zhordania) & his ministerial cabinet (Noe Ramishvili, Noe Khomeriki, etc.) posing for a memorable photo amidst a cheerful, flag-waving crowd on Gogol St. The photograph was taken less than a year before Georgia’s Soviet occupation forced most government members, including Zhordania, into permanent exile abroad.

The collection also contains three lively scenes of the Epiphany-day procession (January 6), showing civilians, uniformed militaries & robed clergy carrying the Grapevine Cross along Golovinsky Avenue (now Rustaveli), with several soldiers on horseback likely ensuring order.

Most of the other photos feature general views of the city. An excellent three-part panorama of Kala and Avlabari (the earliest local districts, aka “Old Town”) documents Metekhi Church and its adjacent infamous jail (demolished after WWII), the Church of the Red Gospel (ruined in 1989), the Shah Ismail Mosque (demolished in 1950), the caravanserai of Iakob Zubalashvili & Farseg Ter-Mosenyan (demolished in the 20th century), the old Metekhi & Avlabari bridges (demolished in the 20th century), the Botanical Garden, the ancient Narikala fortress, and numerous charming residential buildings with distinctive openwork balconies.

There are also two views of Mtskheta, showing Svetitskhoveli cathedral and its nearby residential buildings. Overall, a historically important collection of early, well-preserved vernacular photos of Georgia.

Item #PC37
Price: $2250.00