Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace
Friday, 7 November 2014 to Sunday, 22 February 2015

This exhibition follows the journey taken by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) in 1862, as he undertook a four month tour around the Middle East.

Seen through the photographs of Francis Bedford (1815-94), the first photographer to travel on a royal tour, it explores the cultural and political significance Victorian Britain attached to the region, which was then as complex and contested as it remains today.

The tour took the Prince to Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece where he met rulers, politicians and other notable figures, and travelled in a manner not associated with royalty – by horse and camping out in tents.

On the royal party’s return to England, Francis Bedford’s work was displayed in what was described as ‘the most important photographic exhibition that has hitherto been placed before the public’.

Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East is presented alongside Gold at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

Opening times

Open daily, 10:00-17:30

Admission prices

Adult £9.75
Concessions £8.95
Under 17/Disabled £4.95
Under 5 Free

For more details please see our Visit pages

What's on

View our full events guide

Next events and group visits

Writer and broadcaster John McCarthy speaking at an event

Exhibition special event - In Conversation with John McCarthy

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Join exhibition curator Dr Sophie Gordon as she talks to writer and broadcaster John McCarthy about the route taken by the Prince of Wales in 1862, and how the natural, urban and political landscapes of the Middle East have changed in 150 years. ... Read more about Exhibition special event - In Conversation with John McCarthy

The Imperial Mantle

Exhibition special event - Cloth of Gold: The Use of Gold in Royal Couture

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Enjoy a free lunchtime lecture at The Queen's Gallery where we investigate the strong tradition of using cloth of gold and gold embroidery in royal clothing for both fashionable dress and ceremonial garments.  Join Caroline de Guitaut, Curator of ... Read more about Exhibition special event - Cloth of Gold: The Use of Gold in Royal Couture

Exhibition Articles

Conservation of an ancient Egyptian funerary stela

'I was looking at some excavations, which were going on behind the Memnonium; the Viceroy had been kind enough to give permission for them, and that everything that was found I might have; only a small mummy and a tablet were however found, which ... Read more about Conservation of an ancient Egyptian funerary stela

Buy the catalogue

In 1862 the leading British photographer Francis Bedford was commissioned by Queen Victoria to accompany her son and heir, the future King Edward VII, on an ambitious journey around the Middle East. ... Read more about Buy the catalogue

School Sessions

Portrait of Abd al-Qadir, April 1862

To paint or to 'click'? Learning to look at portraits in photography and paintings

Age group: 
Key stage 2, Key stage 3, Key stage 4, Key stage 5
School subjects: 
Art & Design, History, History and Art
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

This session enables pupils studying Art & Design and History to examine some of the techniques and skills used to look at an historical image and analyse the clues and narratives portrayed. Focussing on  examples of portraits from two ... Read more about To paint or to 'click'? Learning to look at portraits in photography and paintings

Away with words: A Creative Writing workshop - Travel Writing

Age group: 
Key stage 2, Key stage 3, Key stage 4, Key stage 5
School subjects: 
Literacy, English Language
The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

This workshop highlights the many possibilities for inspiring Creative Writing about the subject of Travel from works of art, in comparison to more familiar sources such as books and the internet. Focussing on the paintings, sculptures, photographs ... Read more about Away with words: A Creative Writing workshop - Travel Writing