von Martens Panoramic View down the River Seine

Description (Brief):

A Friedrich von Martens panoramic silver albumen print ca. 1844-1856. The photograph, taken in Paris is a view looking down the River Seine from the right bank. On the lower right side there is a line of parked carriages. On the mid-right side there is a statue overlooking the river. Floating on the river are six empty barges. On the left bank there are rows of shops, apparently of a medical nature. One has a sign that reads "Dents 5 francs" and another "Mason de'l'ingenieur chevallier opticien."

The Friederich von Martens collection in the Photographic History Collection is composed of thirty-eight albumen photographs. Included in the collection is a set of mechanical drawings, patent information and personal correspondence related to von Martens’s panoramic camera and photographs. Many of the photographs in this collection are of Paris in the mid-1800s. There are also photographs of drawings and paintings.

Friederich von Martens was born in Germany in 1809, but spent most of his life living and working in Paris, France. Not much is known about his life before he left Germany. In Paris, von Martens was a prominent and respected photographer. He photographed both seascapes and city scenes. He also traveled to many other cities such as Frankfurt, Lausanne, Le Havre, Rouen, Stuttgart, Trieste and Venice. He exhibited his work in Paris at the Salon from 1834 to 1848. In 1845, von Martens invented the first panoramic camera, called the Megaskop-Kamera. The camera featured a swing lens and operated by a handle and gears. The first model used 4.7" x 15" curved daguerreotype plates that had a 150 degree arc. A later model used wet plate curved glass emulsions. The curved plate design made development of the plates difficult, however von Martens managed to produce many high quality panoramas. In 1851 he had a chance to exhibit a number of albumen prints of architectural views at the Great Exhibition in London, for which he was awarded the Council Medal. In the 1850s von Martens decided to try taking panoramic photographs using talbotypes instead of daguerreotypes. He tried his new idea while photographing the Alps. One of these photographs, taken of Mont Blanc, in 14 parts, was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855. Von Martens died in 1875.

Date Made: ca 1844-1856

Maker: von Martens, Friedrich

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: France: Île-de-France, Paris

See more items in: Work and Industry: Photographic History, Photo History Collection, Friedrich von Martens Collection, Photography


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PG.72.76.06Accession Number: 302033Catalog Number: 72.76.06

Object Name: photograph

Physical Description: paper (overall material)Measurements: overall: 33.3 cm x 57 cm; 13 1/8 in x 22 7/16 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a8-dde3-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1029118

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.