|A topographical carte-de-visite showing a palace in Venice.
Photographed by Carlo Naya of Venice, identified by his backplate on the reverse of the mount.
Carlo Naya (1816-1882) was born Carlo Naja at Tronzano Vercellese near Turin. He studied law in Pisa, where he graduated in 1840. Until recently it was thought that for the next fifteen years, he and his brother Giovanni travelled widely throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, only photographing occasionally for pleasure. However, recent research has revealed that Carlo Naya worked as a professional daguerreotypist long before his move to Venice. He apparently operated briefly in Prague around 1845, before opening a daguerreotype studio in Constantinople the following year. When his brother died in 1857, Carlo returned to Italy and settled in Venice. Initially he worked with the established publisher Carlo Ponti, who distributed his prints. The two men soon quarrelled, however, and Naya opened his own studio. In 1868 he opened a larger photographic shop in the Piazza San Marco, his business soon growing to rival Ponti's. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the two firms were considered the leading photographic concerns in the city. At the time of Naya's death in 1882, Edward Wilson, an experienced and knowledgeable writer on photography, described Naya's studio as 'the largest establishment we think we ever saw devoted to photography, in an old palace on the other side of the grand canal'.
Ponti and Naya were both photographic chroniclers of the city's tourist sights. Greater ease of travel meant that tourists came in ever increasing numbers to see the splendours of Italy, and these visitors were eager to take away with them souvenirs to show their friends and family at home and to help them remember what they had seen. Thus a photographer with a large stock of negatives showing the buildings and monuments, canals and palaces, harbour views and gondolas of Venice was assured of a steady, reliable income for years to come.
condition: One or two imperfections in the print, and a small abrasion on the mount,
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