Bonneville near Geneva on the Road to Chamonix

Object Details


Bonneville near Geneva on the Road to Chamonix




August 13, 1821


Graphite drawing made with the aid of a camera lucida


19.4 × 29 cm (7 5/8 × 11 7/16 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of the Graham and Susan Nash Collection

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In 1821 Sir John Herschel made a grand tour of Europe, recording his observations of geographical and geological formations with the aid of a drawing tool called the camera lucida. He looked at nature through this device, drawing with his pencil in close-valued shades of graphite gray that anticipated photographs in composition and tonal scale. Herschel rendered the mountains near Geneva, Switzerland, with the same attention to detail that he concentrated on a tree in the foreground. By so doing, he achieved a uniform field of focus that is closer to photographic vision than it is to the selective focus of the unaided eye.

The Encompassing Eye: Photography as Drawing (February 14 to May 24, 1992)
  • Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach), February 14 to May 24, 1992
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Capturing Time: A Celebration of Photographs (December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998

Waldheim, Charles, and Andrea Hansen. Composite Landscapes: Photomontage and Landscape Architecture. (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2014), p. 36.