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Album Fotografico Sevillano, Dedicado à SS. AA. RR. los Sermos. Sres. Infantes Duques de Montpensier

Masson, Luis-Léon

Seville. Louis Léon Masson, Fotografico, Calle de las Sierpes numéro 13 ... Imprenta del Porvenir. c.1855
A rare early album of views in Seville, bound for presentation, by the French photographer Masson.

Although of French birth, Masson was one of the earliest photographers established in Seville, possibly as early as 1850 but certainly by 1855, and is known for his architectural views and studies - in Seville particularly but also further afield in Andalucia and Toledo - as well as his pioneering photographs of the corrida de toros.

The album presented here contains 23 photographs by Masson, all of his adopted Seville, and include a series of photographs of the Gothic Cathedral of St. Mary, the Alcázar and San Telmo palaces, churches, La Cartuja and views of the Triana, the port and the Guadalquivir (see below for a full list of photographs). With an elaborate chromolithograph title page with the text printed in gilt and elaborate calligraphy and Masson's dedication to the Duke of Montpensier, it seems likely that the album was bound for presentation.

Masson's photographs are rare on the market and in institutions; although single images are occasionally seen, we can locate only one further example of an album such as this, at the University of Navarre.

'Masson trabajó en Sevilla entre 1855 y los últimos años de la decada siguiente y fue autor de algunos memorables calotipos de tema taurino, probablamente los primeros en su género ... La produción calotípica no fue, pues, muy abundante, y tuvo sus cultivadores más destacados en fotógrafos foráneos, como los citados Tenison, Vigier, Gustave de Beaucorp, Masson, de Clercq y Clifford.' (see López Mondéjar, Historia de la Fotografía en España &c.).

Each of the photographs in the album is captioned in pencil 'Seville' on the mount sheet at lower left in two hands in French with further indications as to the view. The photographs are titled as follows:

(1) Séville - (Cathédrale,) vue de la place de Triumfo
(2) Séville - (Cathédrale,) côté de la porte des Infantes, vue prise de la haut de la Bouje
(3) Séville - (Cathédrale,) même vue porte que précédemment, plus haut
(4) Séville - Cathédrale, porte de la nativité
(5) Séville - (Porte de l'Alcazar)
(6) Séville - (Patio de l'Alcazar,) patio de las Doncellas
(7) Séville - (Alcazar,) porte du salon des ambassadeurs
(8) Séville - (Patio Principal de l'Alcazar)
(9) Séville - (Jardins de l'Alcazar)
(10) Séville - (Eglise de la Charité.) Hôpital
(11) Séville - (Eglise Saint-Jean de Dieu)
(12) Séville - (Porte de Triana)
(13) Séville - (Eglise San Pablo)
(14) Séville - Porte d'entrée du Palais San Telmo, habité par S. A. R. monseig. le Duc de Montpensier
(15) Séville - Palais San Telmo, côte des jardins
(16) Séville - (Place San Francisco)
(17) Séville - (Ayuntamiento)
(18) Séville - (Casa de Pilatos)
(19) Séville - (La Cartuja,) fabrique de porcelaine
(20) Séville - (Route de la Macarena)
(21) Séville - (Pont & faubourg de Triana)
(22) Séville - (Palais archiépiscopal)
(23) Seville - (Vue générale,) prise du Triana
[24 unnumbered leaves]. Oblong folio. (486 x 550 mm). Chromolithograph title page with decorative border surrounding printed text in gold and 23 calotype photographs from paper negatives printed in sepia, each mounted to sheet of wove paper with guardleaf, and with manuscript captions at lower left of mounts in pencil in French. Original publisher's blue moiré cloth, boards with elaborate decorative ruling in blind, gilt-stamped title ('ALBUM FOTOGRAFICO / SEVILLANO') to centre of upper board, white moiré cloth endpapers.