'Paestum, Gate...', 1841.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A daguerreotype of the eastern gateway in the walls of the ruined city of Paestum, Italy, by Alexander John Ellis. Paestum was a Greek colony founded in Southern Italy during the sixth century BC. The ruins feature temples to Poseidon, Ceres and the Basilica, actually a temple to Hera, all built between 530 and 460 BC. The ruins were rediscovered in the 1750s, chiefly by Johann Joachim Winckelmann. The ruins, together with those at Herculaneum and Pompeii, sparked an interest in Classical art and architecture during the eighteenth century. The full title of the daguerreotype is 'Paestum, Gate, the only one of which the arch is still left, called the Porta della Sirence. Exterior.' 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