The book presents some of the most important daguerreotypes – views, reproductions of works of art, portraits – the work of Italian photographers and foreign photographers in Italy at the time. The daguerreotype, introduced in 1839 by Daguerre, is the oldest of all photographic techniques. These reproductions were vastly popular at least until 1860, despite the competition of other more accessible and more practical procedures. The rarity of the daguerreotype picture, due both to the nature of the support and the characteristics of the procedure as well as to the fact that each individual image is a one-of-a-kind example, make them particularly valuable and often little-known. The 120 pictures in this book, the result of meticulous research carried out in various Italian and foreign collections, both private and public, present the reader with one of the most fascinating chapters on the origins of Italian photography. Precious incunabula and typical examples of the production of the pioneers of photography range from the daguerreotypes made by or for the English philologist John Ellis to studio portraits by the numerous specialized ateliers in the principal Italian cities to the views of places and monuments, made by professional opticians or itinerant artists, that constitute an essential link between engraving and photography.
C. H. Favrod, M. Maffioli, L. Tomassini, M. F. Bonetti