Falls of Terni

Robert Macpherson (British, Tayside, Scotland 1811–1872 Rome)

ca. 1860
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 27.6 x 37.7 cm (10 7/8 x 14 13/16 in.), oval Mount: 49.5 x 60.6 cm (19 1/2 x 23 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Macpherson left Scotland in the early 1840s and settled in Rome, where he gained prominence as a topographic painter, connoisseur, and dealer of art. Hampered by lack of discipline rather than poverty of talent, Macpherson was only mildly successful as a painter. When introduced to photography in 1851, he abandoned the easel as rapidly as he had given up medicine a decade earlier and devoted himself wholly to the camera. Over the next dozen years he produced more than three hundred large views of Rome and other nearby Italian sites. Macpherson's photographs were immensely popular both in Britain and with his countrymen traveling in Italy, for he not only provided pictorial souvenirs of the Eternal City, he also tapped a vein of romantic interest in the picturesque landscape, guided in subject and viewpoint by his experience as a topographic painter.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Blindstamp on mount recto, BC: "R. MacPherson // *Rome*"; inscribed in pencil on mount recto, BC (inside blindstamp): "139"; mount recto, BC (below blindstamp): "Falls of Terni"

  • Provenance

    [Graphics International, Ltd., Washington, DC]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, November 8, 1978

  • Notes

    The falls are actually located in Marmore (about 8 km from Terni, the provincial capital) and known as Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore's Falls) today. It is a man-made waterfall from the river Velino created by the ancient Romans.