I was looking for a famed landscape photograph at Brimfield this year. Some sort of rectangular proportion. When I walked into the South Porch Antiques stall, I was hooked.
This is a view of Castel Sant’ Angelo on the Tiber in Rome. Castel San’t Angelo is one of my favorite buildings in Rome. Hadrian commissioned it as a mausoleum for himself and his family in 130 AD. Legend has it that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus the Sant’ Angelo. The popes converted it into a castle and in the 14th century Pope Nicholas III connected it to St. Peter’s Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The popes would retreat here when Rome was under attack. You can see St. Peter’s in the background beyond the Ponte Sant’ Angelo (the bridge). You may recognize it as the Illuminati’s lair in “Angels and Demons”.
Why did I even hesitate about the $95 price tag? Well, they came down to $75 after I asked what their best price was. It’s about 42″ x 20″. It took one of my girlfriends whispering in my ear that it’s more than worth it for me to pull the trigger.
When I got home, the search began. James Anderson is the photographer. This is a pretty common print from Anderson’s Studio. It’s a carbon print (dry plate negative) from around 1900. The frame and glass are original. These were sold to tourists by the hundreds. It’s worth around $1500 (Thank you to Alex Novak at Vintage Works Ltd for providing me with this information).
Alex recommended I remove the wood backing as the wood will burn through the mount and the photograph. The backing, at least, should be replaced with an archival mount. The photo may stick to the glass if it gets humid so I may want to re-mat and re-frame it archivally. At least I should have a good framer insert spaces to keep the photo off the glass.
Currently, it’s hanging in our bedroom. I absolutely love it.
I love the old glass with its bubbles and imperfections. The proportion is spot on. The quality of the print is so sharp. All good things. So … do I re-frame it? I’m afraid it will lose some of it’s charm. Plus I don’t buy pieces based on value … it’s more personal than that. But I wonder if American Pickers would be proud … paid $75 and worth $1500.