Essays in Romanticism

Rome Daguerreotyped: Romantic Travel in Early Photographs

Essays in Romanticism (2013), 20, (1), 55–82.

Abstract

This essay treats the relationship between romantic tourism and early photography. Focusing on photographs of Rome from the early 1840s, it describes the conditions under which British travel photographs were produced and the forms in which they were disseminated in the medium's earliest years. An account of the publications through which the initial British travel photographs were made known to the public is followed by analysis of Alexander Ellis's unfinished book project, Italy Daguerreotyped—a late-romantic undertaking whose origins were inseparable from a burgeoning tourism industry. Ellis's photographs reproduced the strangeness of romantic vision, and their reception in the twentieth century reveals some of the biases—the privileging of composition over materiality, for instance—that inform the institutional history of photography.

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Author details

Rovee, Christopher