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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Alexander Svoboda

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Born: Alexander Sandor Svoboda 
Other: A. Svoboda 
Other: Alex Svoboda 
Dates:  1826 - 1896
Born:  Ottoman Empire, Mesopotamia [now Iraq], Baghdad
Died:  Ottoman Empire, [now Greece], Chios
Active:  India, Turkey, England
Painter and photographer who travelled widely. Bombay (now Mumbai), India 1850s; Baghdad, Ottoman Empire (now Iraq) 1857-58; Smyrna (formerly Izmir), Ottoman Empire (now Iraq) 1859-?; London 1880s and 90s; Constantinople 1895+ Turkey. In the 1850s providing travel albums of photographs to tourists.
(Bronwyn Higgs , pers. email, 29 November 2022) {it is often stated that he was of Russian origin] There is, however, no evidence that he was of Russian ancestry. Rather he was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1826, the eldest child of a Hungarian father and an Iraqi mother (of Armenian heritage). Many sources incorrectly identify Svoboda's heritage, variously describing him as Russian, German, Hungarian etc. Yet, his father was Hungarian, as were his grand-parents and great grand-parents. His father, Anton Svoboda, was a glass merchant specialising in Bohemian crystal, who travelled to Baghdad in the early 19th century to sell glassware, married a local Iraqi woman and raised a family of eleven children in Baghdad. The name, Svoboda, is of Czech-Hungarian origin (definitely not Russian). See references below.

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Unidentified photographer
Sandor Alexander Svoboda 
1869 (ca)
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Commercial, India and Middle East
Commercial artist and photographer, India
Of Russian origins and established as a photographer in Smyrna in the mid-1850s. Advertises in the Bombay Gazette of 6 Oct 1856 as portrait painter and photographer at 3 Bellasis Road, Byculla, Bombay, using a new process on canvas. Published The Seven Churches of Asia (London, 1869), illustrated with 20 mounted prints.
One of his photographs is reproduced as a lithograph in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1866: ‘The monument near Ninfi...I have been very desirous of getting photographed, and at length this has been effected by the zeal and ability of Mr Alexander Svoboda, an artist doubtless remembered by many members of the society for his paintings of Indian scenes, and his first having photographed the caves of Elephanta and monument of Ctesiphon, as he has latterly those of Ephesus...’[1]
A. Svoboda, photographer, Bellasis Road, Bombay, 1857 (Bombay Times Calendar and Almanac). 

  1. Λ Hyde Clarke, Assyro-Pseudo-Sesostris, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. XXXV, no. 2, 1866, pp. 87-90. 

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