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Photographic illustrations found during the digitisation of the Hellenic and Roman Societies Tract volumes

Aaron Fordwoh writes about the digitisation project underway at the Hellenic and Roman Library, funded by the AG Leventis Foundation.

As the A.G. Leventis Digitisation Officer here at the Hellenic and Roman Library, part of my role has been the digitisation of the Societies Tract volumes, which consists of various tracts and pamphlets bound into volumes. One thing that always catches my eye are the photographic illustrations and prints which accompany some of the chapters.

The Tract volumes span a period of 228 years between 1724 and 1952 which encompasses a wide range of printing processes, many of which are no longer used in commercial book printing. 

From the invention and subsequent use of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre’s daguerreotypes (between the years 1839-1841) up to silver gelatin prints (between 1885-present) the Tract volumes include a range of material with various printing methods. Some of these include albumen prints, ambrotypes, and lithographic prints.

Below is a small collection of some of this material found in the Tract volumes.

Fig. 1, 2

Example of a photographic print on print paper.
Photographic print, The ‘Ludovisi Acrolith’, ca. 480-470 BCE. 
Testa arcaica di Villa Ludovisi. Kekulé, Reinhard, 1874. Classmark T.34.07



Fig. 3, 4
Example of an inserted photograph (most probably an albumen print) on photographic paper. 
Photograph, sculpture found in the Museo Vaticano.
Statua d'Igea nel Belvedere del Museo Vaticano, Flasch, Adam, 1873. Classmark T.20.22

Fig. 5
Example of an inserted photographic print on heavy print paper.
Photographic print, reconstruction of The Parthenon.
Erläuterungen zu der Reconstruction des Westgiebels des Parthenon, Schwerzek, Karl, 1896.
Classmark T.48.03



Fig. 6
Example of a print of a pencil drawing on print paper.
Print, ‘Cupid Carving his Bow from the Club of Hercules’.
Amor mit dem Bogen des Herkules: Marmorstatue in Berlin. Friederichs, Karl, 1867.
Classmark T.49.08



Fig. 7
Example of colour plate print
Print, necklaces and earings, Roman period.
Jewelry: the art of the goldsmith in classical times as illustrated in the museum collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y), 1928.
Classmark T.289.11