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Publication: Carrying Off the Palaces: John Ruskin's Lost Daguerreotypes

This long-awaited book from Ken and Jenny Jacobson will be published on 19 March. The inspiration for the book was a remarkable discovery made by the authors at a small country auction in 2006 (See:  One lightly regarded lot was a distressed mahogany box crammed with long-lost early photographs. These daguerreotypes were later confirmed as once belonging to John Ruskin, the great 19th-century art critic, writer, artist and social reformer. Moreover, the many scenes of Italy, France and Switzerland included the largest collection of daguerreotypes of Venice in the world and probably the earliest surviving photographs of the Alps.

Despite his sometimes vehemently negative sentiments regarding the camera, John Ruskin never stopped using photography. He assiduously collected, commissioned and produced daguerreotypes and paper photographs; he pioneered the use of the collotype and platinotype processes for book illustration. Many of the recovered daguerreotypes reveal surprising compositions and have enabled insights into how Ruskin’s use of them influenced the style of his watercolours.

Core to this book is a fully illustrated catalogue raisonné of the 325 known John Ruskin daguerreotypes. The overwhelming majority of the newly-discovered plates are published here for the first time. There are an additional 276 illustrations in the text and an essay describing the technical procedures used in conserving Ruskin’s photographs. Ten chapters extensively study Ruskin’s photographic endeavours. A chronology, glossary, twenty-page bibliography and comprehensive index complete this handsome hardback book.

Carrying Off the Palaces: John Ruskin's Lost Daguerreotypes
Ken Jacobson & Jenny Jacobson

Publication date: 19 March 2015 – ISBN 9780956301277 – Price: £85
432 pages (including 601 illustrations)

To reserve a copy at the special price of £75, available until 31 March 2015, please contact: Alice Ford-Smith (

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