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'Die (vor wenigen Jahren errichtete) Druckerei in Mekka'. Photographer: al-Sayyid ʻAbd al-Ghaffār [‎6r] (1/1)

The record is made up of 1 collotype print. It was created in 1886-1889. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers Documents collected in a private capacity. .

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Genre/Subject Matter

This street-view shows the front entrance of a pale-coloured building in Mecca described as the Printers. The title suggests that it had been ‘built in recent years’. The style of the building is clearly Ottoman and is similar to the Hamidiyya, which was built close by during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876–1909).

The pale-coloured building at left, of which only the corner can be seen is almost certainly the Hamidiyya, as the two buildings were located adjacent to one another, as can clearly be seen in X463/2.

Notable features include a plaque above the door featuring Arabic script, a decorative lamp on the right hand corner of the building and a series of rainwater spouts to compensate for what may be a flat roof.

In front of the build two benches, made of naturally bent wood as well as another structure are unoccupied, but nearer to the camera several men sit or stand near a series of benches in front to of a building on the right, some beneath an awning, which may point to the presence of a café or some other informal meeting place.

To the right of these men, a group of four boys stand and look towards the camera. A further awning, out of focus due to its proximity to the camera, is evident in the upper right corner of the image.

In the left foreground three figures in motion are captured. Though two of their faces have been roughly re-inscribed into the negative, adding to the ghost-like quality of the figures, it is clear the one furthest from the camera is a woman wearing a headscarf while the figure closest to the camera is a man wearing a turban.

Behind the two-storey Printers one taller building in a style more common in Mekka can clearly be seen, as well as a large two-storey rawashin .

Aside from merely the faces of the figures, the negative has had hand-work applied, creating a drawing-like quality in places.


Above image, on the right, in ink: ‘VI’

Extent and format
1 collotype print
Physical characteristics


165 x 235 mm


Collotype print, pasted into volume


The print is in good condition with minor surface dirt and light abrasions, though no surface losses in the lower right of centre.





Written in
Arabic in Arabic script
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'Die (vor wenigen Jahren errichtete) Druckerei in Mekka'. Photographer: al-Sayyid ʻAbd al-Ghaffār [‎6r] (1/1), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, X463/6, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 5 March 2024]

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