We are pleased to present a photographic journey that follows in the footsteps of John Beasley Greene and his French contemporaries. The exhibition presents some of the very earliest photographs of the ancient civilisations that span the Mediterranean to the Middle East.
Many years ago I was privileged to visit the Société française de photographie in Paris with the eminent French Photography dealer, the late Gerard Levy. We spent the day look at the earliest material, including Hipployte Bayard and Humbert de Molard, but the real purpose of the visit was to look at the work of John Beasley Greene. It was an unforgettable opportunity to see works I had never seen before, even in reproduction, and an incredible experience comparing Greene's prints with those made from his negatives by Blanquart Everard. Ever since then I have admired Greene's work and am delighted to present this exhibition that contextualises his remarkable vision.
The photographs in this exhibition present crumbling monuments, desert scenes, ancient sculptures, walls and excavations across France, Italy, north Africa and the Middle East by many of the most celebrated pioneers of early photography, among them Edouard Baldus, Maxime du Camp, Louis de Clercq, Girault de Prangey, J. B. Greene, Eugene Le Dien & Gustave Le Gray, Emile Pecarrere, Auguste Salzmann, Felix Teynard and Louis Vignes.
This is our third exhibition to explore the relationship between early photography and antiquity. Our previous exhibitions on this theme were Broken Stones. Ruins and the Picturesque in Vintage Photography, staged in 2012, and Travellers in Antique Lands: Ancient Civilisations in the Light of Photography which was held in 2014.