'Rome, Fontana di Trevi or L'Aqua Vergine', c 1841.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A daguerreotype of theTrevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, taken by an unknown photographer in about 1841and purchased by Alexander John Ellis (1814-1890). The Trevi Fountain is the most famous, if not the most beautiful, fountain in Rome. The sea god Neptune stands in the centre in a shell chariot drawn by sea horses, led by a pair of tritons. The site of the fountain dates back to ancient Rome. It was built where a spring intersected three ways, or 'tre vie'. The current fountain was only completed in 1762. 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.