A small collection of photographs, taken by a British Intelligence Officer in Iraq.

IRAQ. ; WARREN Christopher attributed to ([c.1930s].)


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Sensitive Portraits of Iraqi Citizens

Thirty-six vintage small format silver gelatin photographs, plus a photographic postcard of Faisal II as a boy; all photographs clearly removed from an album, with residual scraps of brown album paper to versos. [Iraq, but some printed in London],

A small collection of highly accomplished amateur photographs of inter-war Iraq.

Though there is no material evidence to support the attribution (inscriptions, stamps etc.) they came from a collection of similar material said to belong to Christopher Warren, who worked as an Intelligence Officer in Iraq, Lebanon and Kuwait in the 1930s. Other photographs, offered for sale at the same time as these (albeit in separate groups), show that he was active in those locations and was, at one point, based at "Moon House, Dar Al Qamar, Karradat Marrian".

The many intimate and beautiful portraits (making up over half the collection) would suggest the photographer spoke Arabic and understood enough about his subjects to foment the mutual comfort necessary for such candid images. Several show young people from both the city and the countryside: the sons of shop-owners at ease in the hustle and bustle of Baghdad and children gathering crops, hunting and playing reed flutes in the open expanse of the desert. Some, such as the portrait of a suited young man in a local boat, potentially imply a professional relationship.

Viewed together, the images express a peacefulness far removed from the tensions of the interwar period, in which protests against British influence were common (even after the independence of the country in 1932). Only a photographic postcard, present with the images, reminds one of the broader historical context: a portrait of Faisal II, still a child but standing upright in military dress.

Stock Code: 234391

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