Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Joachim Bonnemaison collection of panorama photographs
Date (inclusive): 1803-1998 (bulk 1846-1944)
72.5 Linear Feet
(24 boxes, 47 flatfile folders)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
The collection, compiled by the French
photographer and collector Joachim Bonnemaison, consists of over 630 photographic and
printed panoramic images of cities and sites mainly in Europe, but also in Africa, Asia,
North America and South America.
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Language: Collection material is in French,English, and German.
Joachim Bonnemaison is a French photographer and collector.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Joachim Bonnemaison collection of panorama photographs, 1803-1998 (bulk 1846-1944) The
Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 98.R.19.
Acquired in 1998.
Processed and researched by Sandra Starke in 2011. The finding aid written in 2012 by Beth
Ann Guynn with assistance from Linda Kleiger.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection, compiled by the French photographer and collector Joachim Bonnemaison,
between 1973 and 1997, consists of over 630 photographic and printed panoramic images of
cities and sites mainly in Europe, but also in Africa, Asia, North America, and South
America. Over half of the photographs are of locales and scenes in France. The majority of
the images date between 1846 and 1944. Over fifty panoramas in the collection are the only
known copies of the photograph.
Panoramic photographs fulfill the modern desire for wide, sweeping views. The extended
prospect of the view is also, in essence, an exploration of space. The collection shows the
transformation of the panoramic principle that was embedded in the centuries-old tradition
of painted and printed birds-eye views into the newly possible photographic images of the
nineteenth century, and offers a variety of understandings of what the genre of panoramas
In the late eighteenth century the desire to see more and farther fueled the development of
the monumental painted panoramas that became an international craze by the early 1800s. The
term panorama was coined by the English painter Robert Barker, who combined the Greek words
pan (all) and horama (view) in 1792 to describe his large-scale painting of Edinburgh,
which, when hung inside a circular space, enveloped the spectators, who stood in the center
of the space, within a 360-degree view. The following year Barker built the first dedicated
panorama building in Leicester Square, London to exhibit his panoramas. In short order the
panorama became a hugely popular form of mass entertainment. The most common themes for
panorama paintings were famous battles, historical scenes, and views of exotic locales. A
small number of items in the collection are related to the history of the painted panorama.
The collection includes photographs of panorama buildings, as well as ephemera such as a
poster advertising Robert Barker's first building in London.
The term panorama quickly passed into everyday usage as a noun whose various meanings
included "a complete and comprehensive survey or presentation of a subject" (1800); "an
unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer" (1802); and "a continuously
passing scene; a mental vision in which a series of images passes before the mind's eye"
(1813). In one aspect or another, each item in this collection encompasses one or more of
these definitions, thereby demonstrating the breadth and scope of the panorama genre.
The immersive experience afforded by the panoramic view became such an essential way of
seeing in nineteenth-century visual culture, that by 1845, only six years after the
invention of photography, Friedrich von Martens, a young Viennese printmaker working in
Paris, patented the first panorama camera. His daguerreotype camera employed a rotating lens
and a curved daguerreotype plate. Martens is represented in the collection by his
Panorama de Paris, pris des hauteurs de Chaillot, from the early
1840s comprising two aquatint prints (here represented as a joined panorama), as well as by
four albumen panoramas from the 1860s.
In the 19th century, photographers often designed and built their own cameras, resulting in
a wide array in the format and appearance of panoramic photographs. Panoramic photographs
can also be made by piecing together sequential segments of a wide or sweeping scene. A
large number of the items in the collection are joined panoramas comprising two or more
consecutively shot photographs abutted together to create a panoramic view.
The collection includes photographic prints made in the most popular nineteenth-and early
twentieth-century photographic media, as well as in a number of rare and early techniques.
Photographic processes present in the collection include salted paper, albumen, collodion,
carbon, and gelatin silver prints, as well as cyanotypes. Among the earliest prints in the
collection are two salted paper cliché-verre prints from the 1840s by Nevil Story-Maskelyne
of lace and ferns respectively, and a William Henry Fox Talbot photogenic drawing of lace
from the same period. Although these early photographs are not panoramic, they set the stage
for the collection as examples of the earliest photographic ways of seeing.
Several round photographs translate the tradition of tondo painting, wherein a curvilinear
image is projected onto a plan, into the medium of photography. They range from
architectural views (unusual in tondo painting) such as Thomas Damont Eaton's
Castle Acre Priory, Norfolk (circa 1845) and Gustave de Beaucorps'
Château d'Amalfi (1859) to Charles Nègre's
Trail in the Mountains and
by an unidentified photographer (both circa 1860). Related to tondos,
circular anamorphosis photographs are grounded in a long tradition of perspectival paintings
and prints. These images, which present their subject matter in a distorted, often
unrecognizable form, show the object's true shape when they are viewed from a certain
vantage point or with the aid of a curved mirror or other anamorphosic device. Alphonse
Mangin, the inventor of the anamorphic lens, is represented in the collection by his
Vue panoramique prise de la terrasse du batiment Nord-Est de L'Hotel des
(1878). Other techniques such as the multigraphs, that is multiple
images of the same subject seen from various angles through the use of mirrors, by Ricard
Study of Three Trumpet Players in Two Mirrors, circa
1892-1920) and an unidentified photographer (
Portrait of a Man with
Hat in Five Different Angles
, 1924), and Louis Lumière's 1920 photostereosynthesis
portrait of his brother Auguste, seem to push the boundaries of the panorama genre.
There are three rare photographic paper negatives in the collection, two of which were made
by Gustave de Beaucorps in 1859 (both the negative and a print of his
Oasis de Korah are included), and the third by Léon Méhédin, circa 1862. A small
number of contemporary anamorphosis photographs (circa 1990-1998) made by the collector,
Joachim Bonnemaison, who experimented with combining reconstructions of 19th century
panoramic cameras and digital processing, brings the collection full circle.
The names of the photographers represented in the collection read like a
Who's Who of early practitioners and include Edouard Baldus,
Felice Beato, Gustave de Beaucorps, Bisson frères, André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri, Gustave Le
Gray, Louis Vignes, Alphonse Mangin, Friedrich von Martens, Charles Marville, Léon Méhédin,
Charles Nègre, Pierre Ambroise Richebourg, Thomas Damant Eaton, David Octavius Hill and
Robert Adamson, Calvert Richard Jones, Robert Macpherson, Nevil Story-Maskelyn, William
Henry Fox Talbot, Giacomo Caneva, Giorgio Sommer, and Jean Laurent. There are 40 Adolphe
Braun photographs in the collection. Twentieth-century photographers include Berenice
Abbott, Andreas Feininger, Man Ray, Auguste and Louis Lumière, Ricard Opisso, and Renzo
Basile. Approximately half of the photographs are by unidentified photographers, many of
whom were likely amateurs.
The source of the titles for the individual photographs are noted in the item notes, and
are usually found in the negative or written on the piece or mount, or from an exhibition
catalog. If no title source is indicated the title was devised by the catalogers. Titles
given by Bonnemaison are also considered devised titles. Devised titles are not italicized.
The collector's original tranche number and the original box number prior to processing are
found at the end of each item note.
Arranged in seven series:
I. Africa, 1850-1930;
Series II. Asia, 1844-1916;
Series III. Europe, circa 1830-1998;
Series IV. North America, 1858-1940;
Series V. South America,
Unidentified locations, circa 1850-1891;
Series VII. Panorama paintings, 1803-1900.
Subjects - Places
Japan -- Description and travel
Malta -- Description and travel
Mexico -- Description and travel
Madagascar -- Description and travel
Argentina -- Description and travel
Crimea (Ukraine) -- Description and travel
Denmark -- Description and travel
Hong Kong -- Description and travel
Poland -- Description and travel
Lebanon -- Description and travel
Russia -- Description and travel
Portugal -- Description and travel
Norway -- Description and travel
Turkey -- Description and travel
Brazil -- Description and travel
Canada -- Description and travel
Chad -- Description and travel
China -- Description and travel
Belgium -- Description and travel
Egypt -- Description and travel
Czechoslovakia -- Description and travel
United States -- Description and travel
France -- Description and travel
Spain -- Description and travel
Switzerland -- Description and travel
Israel -- Description and travel
Italy -- Description and travel
Greece -- Description and travel
India -- Description and travel
Germany -- Description and travel
Great Britain -- Description and travel
Austria -- Description and travel
Algeria -- Description and travel
Uzbekistan -- Description and travel
Genres and Forms of Material
Gelatin silver prints
Salted paper prints
Photogenic drawings (photographs)
Clichés-verre (photographic prints)
Richebourg, Pierre Ambroise,
Le Gray, Gustave,
Caneva, Giacomo, approximately
Macpherson, Robert, 1815 or
Laurent y Minier,
Gustave de, 1825-1906
Man Ray, 1890-1976
Martens, Friedrich von
Talbot, William Henry Fox,
Mangin, A. (Alphonse),
The following resources are referenced in the container list using the abbreviations in
Panoramas photographies, 1850-1950: collection
Arles: Rencontres internationales de la photographie, 1989.
[Hannavay] John Hannavay, ed.
Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century
New York : Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.
[Plessen and Giersch] Marie-Louise von Plessen and Ulrich Giersch.
Sehsucht: Das Panorama als Massenunterhaltung des 19. Jahrhunderts, Kunst und
Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
Basel: Stroemfeld/Roter Stern,
[Voignier] Voignier, J.-M.
Répertoire des photographes de France au
Chevilly-Larue: Le Pont de Pierre, 1993.