'Rome, Piazza del Popolo...', 1841.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A daguerreotype of the Piazza del Popolo, Rome, by Alexander John Ellis. This square was a popular meeting place and entry point into Rome. In the background is the Porto del Popolo and the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. The centre of the square is dominated by an Egyptian obelisk dedicated to the pharaoh Rameses II [1304-1237 BC]. Placed here in 1589 it had originally been erected in the Circus Maximus. The full title of the daguerreotype is 'Rome, Piazza del Popolo from San Maria di Miracoli, in the centre the obelisk.' 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.