Benedictine Convent, Catania

George Wilson Bridges British

Not on view

Bridges learned the negative-positive, paper-based calotype process directly from its British inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot. When, in 1846, Bridges embarked for the Mediterranean on a journey to produce photographs for a planned (but never completed) publication, Talbot put him in touch with Calvert Jones, who was also traveling in the region. The two shared a profession—both were Anglican clerics—and an avocation in photography. Their letters to Talbot provide important evidence of the spread of paper photography to Italy; Bridges, for example, recorded his encounters with Italian and French photographers using the calotype around Naples. In summer 1846, Bridges stayed at the Benedictine convent of San Nicolo d’Arena near Catania. This photograph presents the monks there in a carefully arranged group portrait within the gardenlike cloister.

Benedictine Convent, Catania, George Wilson Bridges (British, 1788–1864), Salted paper print from paper negative

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