Bonneville near Geneva on Road to Chamonix
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Gift of the Graham and Susan Nash Collection

Sir John Herschel
British, Switzerland, August 13, 1821
Graphite drawing made with the aid of a camera lucida
7 5/8 x 11 7/16 in.

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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.