Rare documents showing the first extension of the Prophet's Mosque in 1955

Rare documents showing the first extension of the Prophet’s Mosque in 1955

Carefully preserved for more than 60 years by the heirs of the Egyptian architect, Fahmy Bey Moemen, a goldsmith of Islamic architecture and master builder of the first extension of the prestigious mosque of the Prophet (saws) in Medina, a unique collection made up of 52 original sketches and 216 photographs, immortalizing this major project, was offered for auction at Sotheby’s.

Wanted and ordered in 1951 by King Abdul-Aziz al-Saud, these major works to enlarge the sumptuous Masjid al-Nabawi mosque, the second holiest in Islam, which helped to triple its area in 1955, were frozen on paper for eternity, through drawings, plans and shots that constitute a precious legacy for all of humanity.

Some very accomplished sketches illustrate the ornamentation of the marbles, the windows, the arches, and highlight the decorations and sculptures which have magnified the columns, as well as the pillars of the sacred enclosure.

Responsible for ensuring the smooth running of this private sale, Richard Fattorini, a specialist in books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, was delighted that this rare collection came out of confidentiality to be exposed one day soon to the eyes of all. If he praised the historical significance and the cultural value of this same collection, he however remained very discreet about its financial value. A value judged “invaluable”in terms of its exceptional character.

Fahmy Bey Moemen during expansion works