Page 9 - 22nd_OstLicht_Photo_Auction
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The nine daguerreotypes, which were created between   In the late autumn of 1845, Rondot made extensive
           summer 1844 and late autumn 1845, were discovered   explorations of the local textile industry in Shanghai.
           recently, and are a photo historical sensation. Not only   During this stay he took photographs in the tea garden,
           does this shed new light on the introduction of photo-   which with its pavilions and rock grottoes around a
           graphy in China and identify a previously unknown   lake was the most picturesque place in the city for the
           French daguerreotypist, it also shifts the chronology of   members of the mission. His photograph was thus taken
           the earliest photographs taken in the city of Shanghai   more than a decade before that of Louis Legrand, who
           by more than a decade. In any case, the series has an   had photographed from the same vantage point. Both
           exceptional status as an important cultural asset that   pictures show the teahouse and the small feeder bridge,
           documents both French and Chinese history. In the   but Rondot’s daguerreotype is shown in an inverted
           meantime, more detailed research results are available   view. This proves that his camera was not equipped
           from Terry Bennett, the renowned researcher on the   with a prism, which is typical for early daguerreotypes.
           history of photography in Asia.
                                                              Finally, an indication of the attribution is the beautiful
           Natalis Rondot, an art historian and economist from   self-portrait of the young delegate, who was made a
           Lyon, was 22 years old when he was commissioned to   Knight of the Legion of Honor at the age of 25 after his
           participate in the Lagrené mission to China as delegate   return. The identification of Rondot as the author of
           of the Ministry of Commerce specialized in the wool   the present daguerreotypes is furthermore relevant as
           textile industry. In February 1844, he left France on   another photographer (with his own equipment), Jules
           board the Archimède steam corvette, whose captain,   Itier, also accompanied the Lagrené China Mission.
           François-Edmond Pâris, carried a daguerreotype equip-  However, he left the group at the end of August 1845,
           ment. After Rondot had accompanied the captain in   before arriving in Shanghai, so he could not have taken
           the making of daguerreotypes, he was able to use the   these photographs, which were found as a group in
           equipment himself as the journey progressed. This is   their original wooden storage box.
           evidenced by reports that describe, for example, his
           photographic activities on the occasion of the signing
           of the contract in Whampoa in November 1844. The
           preserved plates show that Rondot photographed
           several times at meetings of French delegates with
           Chinese officials, for example during reciprocal visits on
           ships (the daguerreotypes also show Chinese rigging).

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