Macpherson's Vatican sculptures, 1868

Processed by Jane Carpenter with assistance from Simon Elliott; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Macpherson's Vatican sculptures
Date (inclusive): 1868
Collection number: 94/204
Creator: Macpherson, Robert, 1815 or 16-1872, photographer.
Physical Description: 1 album (134 photographic prints) : albumen ; 33 x 26 cm (album)

Caption title from first leaf, which is a checklist of available photos, printed by Emily Faithfull, Printer and Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty, Victoria Press, Great Coram Street, W.C. Note on recto of checklist leaf reads: "N.B.--Mr Macpherson finds it necessary to state that all his photographs are stamped with his name on the mounting-board; and also that they are not exposed nor to be had at any of the shops, and are only sold at his studio, No. 12, Vicolo d'Alibert, Via del Babuino; near the Piazza di Spagna. In selecting photographs, it is well to put a mark against the no. on the list, and in ordering those that may be wished, to note down only the no. and not the name of the subject, retaining (after the numbers shall have been copied,) the same list as a check upon the order which has afterwards to be executed in Rome, and to be paid for on their arrival in London or Edinburgh."

Production date from price list for this collection, not included in present volume, but dated 1st March 1868; cf.;  

Photographic prints are mounted on rectos of leaves of heavy white paper; pencilled numbers below correspond to the titles in the photo inventory checklist at the front of the album; photos lack Macpherson's trademark oval embossed stamp; cf. also printer's note on inventory leaf.

Spec. Coll. copy: Bound in vellum boards; large gilt ornaments in five of six spine panels; gold-stamped black leather spine label with title "Macpherson's Vatican sculptures"; marbled endpapers; edges stained red. In modern beige cloth clamshell box; spine title "Macpherson's Vatican sculpture."
Abstract: In addition to the photo inventory checklist leaf, album includes all 126 numbered photographs listed of Greek and Roman sculpture in what was then referred to as the Vatican Museum, as well as 6 interior views, lettered A-F: Braccio Nuovo, Chiaramonte, Hall of the Animals, Hall of Statues, Hall of the Greek Cross, and the Hall of the Candelabra.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Gift of Albert Boni.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Macpherson's Vatican sculptures (Collection 94/204). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233582 


Scottish photographer and art dealer in Rome. Born in Edinburgh in 1815, Macpherson studied medicine, and began his professional career as a surgeon. Possibly for health reasons, he gave up the practice of medicine, and traveled to Rome, where he settled in 1840. Having had some success as an artist back home, he opened a studio at 48 Via Gregoriana, and began studying and drawing the great artworks in the Roman museums. His greatest triumph was his discovery of the Michelangelo painting, "Deposition of Christ," now in the National Gallery in London. In 1851, Macpherson took up photography, working in the Taupenot technique--a collodio-albumen process--to produce his photographs of the Vatican Museum sculptures. He photographed Roman antiquities in other locations as well, such as Tivoli, Perugia, Frascati, Orvieto, and Capri; his last catalog of 1871 included 278 descriptions of the statues of the Capitoline Museum, and 357 descriptions of views of Rome. Macpherson died in Rome of malaria in 1872.

Scope and Content

Also included are 2 extraneous photos of a statue of Julius Caesar by Macpherson, from another collection. For description of all the photographs contained herein (with the exception of the two views of Caesar), cf. Vatican sculptures: selected and arranged in the order in which they are found in the galleries   / briefly explained by Robert Macpherson, Rome. London: Chapman & Hall, 193 Picadilly, 1863, available online.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Art museums --Vatican City --Pictorial works.
Classical antiquities --Pictorial works.
Sculpture --Vatican City --Pictorial works.
Sculpture, Greek --Pictorial works.
Sculpture, Roman --Pictorial works.

Genres and Forms of Material

Photograph albums.
Photographic prints.
Albumen prints.

Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

Vatican sculptures
Macpherson's Vatican sculpture
Faithfull, Emily, 1836?-1895, printer.
Boni, Albert, 1892-1981, former owner.

Related Material

Part of the Photograph Album Collection (Collection 94)   in UCLA Library Special Collections.