Grand Tour photo albums, a travel souvenir

If you were a young, aristocratic European man in the late 18th through 19th centuries, you might well have taken a Grand Tour.  After finishing your formal education, you would take a kind of gap year (or year and a half), traveling to and through the finest European capitals, including, in Italy, cities such as Venice, Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples.

IMG_0508

You might have asked Alinari Brothers or another similar firm to create an album for you, comprised of their photographs of your favorite places. The Fratelli Alinari archives in Florence have many of these albums in their archives, and I had the opportunity to look at one of them from 1874.

It begins with a hand-tooled red leather cover.  The book measures roughly 20 x 30 inches.

IMG_0509

 

IMG_0510

 

The Frontispiece reveals that this album was created in Naples, by the Giorgio Sommer firm.

IMG_0506IMG_0507

 

This particular album begins with photographs of Torino, Milano, and Venice, as here:

IMG_0512

 

This album then moves to Firenze, and here are 3 images from this section of the book:

IMG_0515IMG_0514

IMG_0517

 

 

Next, the book moves on visually to Rome.  Here is a picture of oxen pulling carts through the Roman forum.

IMG_0519

 

Then it was on to Naples.  The following is a picture of Mt. Vesuvius erupting in 1872.

IMG_0520

I could (and will) spend hours looking through these albums!

According to my guide at the Alinari archives, an album like this would have cost a young gentleman about $1500 in today’s money.

 

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s