Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Odd Photo of Venice


When I say odd, I don't mean the image itself. I think the photo is great, clearly taken at the turn of the 19th century, the demeanor and expression of the old woman is what makes it. The thing itself however is a bit odd. This is a modern reproduction of the photo but it has been printed onto what feels like almost a flexible sheet of plastic, no thicker than most thin card, but still plastic and it has something of a lustre finish. The photo is larger too than it probably seems here measuring about 16" across. It has pin holes in the corner so I'm guessing it was created for display. The other slightly unusual thing about it is the format. It's quite unusual to see Victorian photographs in  what is almost a panoramic format. This is one of those things that come too often into a dealer's life: a thing that you can't imagine who would want to buy it and yet seems too lovely to simply throw away!

5 comments:

Stoddard Corner Bookshop said...

Perhaps this is printed on celluloid?

Olov said...

It might just be my imagination going off here, but I think it looks an awful lot like Ellen Key, the Swedish writer on feminism and pedagogy. But I must say I have never seen her quite so grumpy! She did write of an early trip to Venice how disappointed she was with the Canale Grande, full of floating waste and dead dogs, so that might explain it...

Carol Dent said...

Hmm, she seems to be carrying one crutch. Perhaps her grumpy expression is because she has dropped the other in the canal...

notker said...

This reminds me strongly of the photographs of the Venetian designer Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949). Around 1900 he experimented with views of Venice in a range of formats including stereoscopic and panorama.

There was a Fortuny exhibition at Brighton in 1980. Could this print have been produced for display purposes on that occasion?

The old lady appears to me to be carrying a folding stool rather than a crutch.

Callum said...

I'm so gratified and humbled to have such witty, erudite and generous readers. I have added a little something on this photo to the blog - see the post for 5th September.

Callum

 
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