Marking time

Marking time in April 2017

Monday 24 April 2017

Neopolitan tourism

Here are two delightful travellers’ souven­irs in the form of carte-de-visite photos​—​reminders of a visit to Naples. I’m guess­ing a tourist bought them after visiting the excavations at Pompeii in the 1860s.

Seventeen people (at least) crowded onto a one-horse carrozzella, with the Bay of Naples and Mount Versuvius in the background, a hand-coloured carte-de-visite copy of a drawing by Consalvo Carelli.

The carte-de-visite was the first broadly-affordable kind of photo­graph. Most cartes were posed studio portraits, but there was also a market for views of scenes and places, as we see here.

More vendors, and fewer passengers, in this copy of another Carelli drawing.

The photographic materials used​—​the wet-plate collodion neg­at­ive and the albumen print​—​could only record static subjects, and only in mono­chrome. But these two pictures have captured the colour and movement of the scene because they are re­pro­duc­tions of an artist’s drawings, with colour added by hand to each print. The artist was Consalvo Carelli, an Italian land­scape painter who is also remembered for the illustrations he made for a travel journal of Alexandre Dumas.

For me these souvenirs evoke the time when mass tourism was just starting​—​made possible, for a growing middle class of Eu­ro­peans, by the steam ship and the railway. Those tourists turned to a newly popular literary genre​—​the travel guide. Here are some tips on getting around in Naples from Karl Baedeker:

Carriages. The distances in Naples are so great, the charges are so moderate, and walking in the hot season is so fatiguing, that there is little inducement for ped­es­tri­an­ism. A private two-horse carrozzella for excursions costs 15-25 fr. per diem; in the town 15 fr. and gratuity. They are to be hired at the hotels, at S. Lucia etc. The fares of the public vehicles are considerably lower: two-horse car­rozzella per drive during the day 1 fr., from sunset to mid­night 1 fr. 50 c.; by time: 2 fr. for the first hour. 1 fr. 50 c. for each successive hour; at night 2 fr. 25 c. for the first, 2 fr. 65 c . for each successive hr. ​—​One horse carrozzella per drive 50 c., at night 65 c.; by time (generally dis­ad­vant­age­ous): 1 f:ยท. 25 c. for the first, 1 fr. for each successive hr.; at night 1 fr. 65 c. and 1 fr . 25 c. respectively. From midnight to sunrise double fares. In hiring by time any fraction above an hour is charged as 1/2 hr. In order to avoid im­pos­i­tion the best rule to observe is to pay the strict fare and not a single soldo in addition. Those who are disposed to pay liberally are sure to be victimized. In case of disputes, application should be made to the nearest policeman. [Karl Baedeker, Italy: handbook for travellers (Coblenz, 1867).].

Detail of the back of one of the cartes-de-visite.

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