A unique portrait of nineteenth-century Italy as seen through the eyes of the first generation of British photographers
This book examines the ways in which the new medium of photography influenced the British experience, appreciation, and perception of Italy in the nineteenth century. Setting photography within a long history of image making—beginning with the eighteenth-century Grand Tour and transformed by the inventions of William Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Daguerre—this beautifully illustrated book features many previously unpublished images alongside the work of well-known photographers. The sixteen essays in this volume explore photography as a vehicle for visual translation and cultural exchange.
Distributed for the Yale Center for British Art
Maria Antonella Pelizzari is professor of art history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Scott Wilcox is the former deputy director for collections at the Yale Center for British Art.
“Anyone interested in Italy will be fascinated and enchanted by The Idea of Italy: Photography and the British Imagination, 1840–1900. Edited by Maria Antonella Pelizzari and Scott Wilcox, it features sixteen essays exploring a wide range of topics—from tourist images of ‘a ghostly landscape of well-lit but unpopulated historical sites’ to picturesque peasants and outlaws, costumed models and Risorgimento heroes.”—James Hall, Times Literary Supplement, “Books of 2022”
“In E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View, the young heroine Lucy Honeychurch spends ‘nearly seven lire’ at Alinari’s, the shop of a Florence-based firm founded in 1852 and specialising in the photographic reproduction of Italy’s great works of art. . . . The images on these handsomely illustrated pages, together with 16 essays, reveal many of the same attitudes that Forster so brilliantly exposes.”—Sophie Barling, World of Interiors
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