'Venice, Dogana del Mare, and Church of San Maria della Salute', 1841.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A daguerreotype of the view across the lagoon by Alexander John Ellis. The lagoon is busy with small boats and a large sailing ship sat at anchor. In the background is the dome of Santa Maria della Salute, one of Venice's most historic churches. To its left is the Dogana del Mare, Venice's Customs House, built in the sixteenth century. Santa Maria della Salute stands at the mouth of the Grand Canal, overlooking St Mark's Square. It was built between 1631 and 1687 to honour the Virgin Mary for delivering the city from a plague. 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.