In the upcoming season, Lempertz will once again be offering a separate catalogue with works from an important private collection. The selection of eighty rare, captivatingly beautiful views of Rome and the Campagna Romana dating from the mid-19th century will be presented in our auction on 7th December. The images of the Eternal City's most famous ancient monuments, captured primarily in exceptionally well-preserved salt paper prints, will be of interest not only to connoisseurs of early photography, but also – like the views of the unspoiled surroundings of Rome, which show a certain similarity to romantic landscape paintings – are sure to transcend genre barriers and also appeal to lovers of Italian art.
As one of the principal stations of the European aristocracy's Grand Tour, by the year 1800 the city of Rome had advanced to become a place of longing for the establishing educated bourgeoisie class and a centre of the international art trade. An affluent clientele comprising travellers, pilgrims, and art lovers created a flourishing market for pictorial reproductions of the ancient architecture and artworks of Rome. Until the mid-19th century, this desire for reproductions of the city's main attractions was satisfied by the numerous painters, engravers, and lithographers resident in Rome. However, following the invention of photography in 1839, it would be barely a decade before the camera was to establish itself as the medium par excellence with which to capture detailed and topographically accurate depictions of the città eterna. Around the year 1850, Rome became the melting pot of an early, and highly productive, photographic scene centred upon the Scuola Romana di Fotografia. The pittori-fotografi, who were of varied international background and included, among many others, Giacomo Caneva, Frédéric Flachéron, Eugène Constant, James Anderson and Robert Macpherson, produced photographic representations of Rome and its surroundings that appeal to the highest aesthetic sensibilities.
This collection of historical photographs of Rome, expertly compiled over decades by Orsola and Filippo Maggia, is one of very few of its kind in the world.