'Pisa, General View of the Piazza del Duomo', 1841.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A daguerreotype of the cathedral at Pisa, Italy, with the famous leaning tower on the right, by Alexander John Ellis. This view of the tower is one of the earliest, if not the first, ever made. The Duomo, or Cattedrale di Santa Maria, stands in the Piazza dei Miracoli or 'Field of Miracles'. The cathedral's bell-tower is the famous Leaning Tower. Construction of the tower began in 1173 and continued, with two long interruptions, for a further two hundred years. Ellis toured Italy in 1841, taking daguerreotype panoramas, landscapes and architectural views. In Rome, he worked with Achille Morelli and Lorenzo Suscipi, acquiring 45 daguerreotypes from them. In total, Ellis took or acquired 159 daguerreotypes. He intended to publish engravings made from these as a book entitled 'Italy Daguerreotyped', but sadly the project was never realised.