Panoramic view of Paris, daguerreotype, around 1850

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Source: Technisches Museum Wien
This panoramic daguerreotype by Noel-Marie Paymal Lerebours and Marc Louis Francois Secrétan is an exceptional item. There are only very few of this type in existence. 

One of the centres of the early photographic scene in Paris was the business run in the Place du Pont-Neuf by the optician, photographer and publisher Lerebours and his business partner Secrétan. This panorama daguerreotype was taken from the roof of the Louvre and shows several characteristic Parisian structures: Notre-Dame Cathedral; Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the city; and the Seine and its banks, which dominate the image.

In the 19th century, Paris was the modern metropolis par excellence and the birthplace of the daguerreotype. This early photographic process celebrated its birth on January 7, 1839, when the French scene painter and designer of panoramas Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre presented his invention to the Academy of Science in Paris.

The daguerreotype technique was widespread by the 1850s, and was mainly used in portrait photography. A daguerreotype is unique and cannot be duplicated. This is what distinguishes it from the photographic negative-positive process, which was developed at almost the same time in England by the scholar Henry Fox Talbot.

In a daguerreotype, the image was generally recorded on a silver-plated copper plate, which was made sensitive to light using iodine vapour. The plate was exposed in the camera and then developed using mercury vapour. Finally, the plate was rinsed and, from 1840, fixed using silver chloride. This made it more robust and reduced reflections.

There are around 40 daguerreotypes - mainly portraits - in the archive of the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) as examples of this early technique. The daguerreotype made a substantial contribution to the popularity and development of photography in Austria.


Inv.Nr. BPA-007211

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