European fascination with the East first gave rise to the fashion for Turquerie in the form of Turkish dress and artefacts in the 16th century. In the 17th century scholars translated Oriental tales such as those in the A Thousand and One Nights which became all the rage and led to Turcomania infecting the romances of famous Western writers. In the 18th century public interest showed no sign of waning.
Political events, economic relations, scholarly and archaeological research, improved travelling conditions, the Romantic movement, and a legacy of interest in the East going back centuries all combined in the 19th century to fling wide the doors of Orientalism. the studios competed with one another to provide ever more extravagant aspects of the oriental world of popular imagination.
Originally called El Chark by Pascal Sébah, after his death the studio was renamed Sébah & Joaillier. Whether as El Chark or Sébah & Joaillier, this studio became the foremost representative of Orientalism in photography. Every scene was created with the greatest care.