John Brampton Philpot Appennine Colossus, Vaglia, Italy
Medium Albumen print from waxed paper negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1856 Print Date 1850s
Dimensions 8-1/16 x 9-5/8 in. (205 x 244 mm)
Photo Country Italy
Photographer Country United Kingdom (UK)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer's blindstamp on bottom recto of mount. Titled in contemporary light pencil on bottom recto of mount,
Born in England in 1812, John Brampton Philpot resided in Florence, Italy from about 1850 until his death in 1878. In 1856 Philpot made 30 calotypes which record the sculpted figures of the Tuscan "pantheon" in the exterior niches of the Uffizi. A series of 28 calotypes of Florence date from the same period, for four of these were exhibited in 1856 at the Photographic Society of Scotland in Edinburgh. Also in the 1850s Philpot produced facsimiles of drawings in the Uffizi in connection with a proposal to compile an inventory of the collection. Baedeker mentioned this aspect of Philpot's production in his 1877 Handbook for Northern Italy, listing Philpot's business as one of the principal photographic establishments in Florence: "Philpot & Co., Borgo Ognissanti 17 (reproductions of Uffizi drawings)." The blindstamp here lists an earlier address for Philpot at "Lungo L Arno 1187, Firenze". Philpot also exhibited at the Firenze Esposizione Italiana in 1861, which may be where Harrison saw his work.
Provenance: old collection of J. Harrison, Jr. purchased in 1861.
The Appennine Colossus" is located in the Villa di Pratolino in Vaglia, Tuscany. The Villa was mostly demolished in 1820: its remains are now part of Villa Demidoff, 12 km north of Florence, reached from the main road to Bologna. The brooding statue of "Appennino" (1579-1580), a colossal sculpture by Giambologna originally seemed to emerge from the vaulted rockwork niche that once surrounded him. Multiple grottoes with water-driven automata, a water organ, surprise jets that drenched visitors' finery when the fontanieri opened secret spigots, offered striking juxtapositions of Art with imitations of rugged Nature.
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