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Photograph - Bacchus being fed with grapes by [Venus ?]

Bacchus being fed with grapes by [Venus ?]

  • Object:


  • Date:

    ca. 1840-60 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case TECHS

The daguerreotype process was introduced to the public in 1839 by Frenchman Louis Daguerre, and was hugely popular as a medium for portraiture until the middle of the 1850s. To create a daguerreotype, a silver plated sheet was given a light sensitive surface coating of iodine vapour. After a long exposure in the camera, the image was developed over heated mercury and fixed in a common salt solution. The image lies on a mirror-like surface and is best seen from an angle to minimise reflections. The surface of daguerreotypes is delicate and easily damaged, so professionally finished images were presented in a protective case or frame.

A stereograph is composed of two pictures mounted next to each other, viewed with a set of lenses known as a stereoscope. Taken around 7cm apart, roughly corresponding to the spacing of the eyes, the left picture represents what the left eye would see, and likewise for the right, so when observing the pictures through a stereoscopic viewer, the pair of photographs converge into a single three-dimensional image.

Physical description

Cased photograph, daguerreotype/ambrotype, of the infant Bacchus being fed grapes by a female figure, possibly Venus. The mount is black with a gold trim.


ca. 1840-60 (photographed)



Materials and Techniques



Length: 32.7 cm sheet, Width: 26 cm sheet

Descriptive line

Anonymous cased stereoscopic photograph, daguerreotype/ambrotype, depicting a sculpture of 'Bacchus being fed with grapes by [Venus ?]', ca. 1840-60.

Labels and date

Gallery 100, 2016-17:

Bacchus Being Fed Grapes by Venus
About 1840–60

Daguerreotypes are one of the earliest forms of photography, invented in France in 1839. They are unique, positive images formed on a sheet of highly polished and silvered copper. This daguerreotype
shows a sculpture in which Bacchus, god of wine and fertility, is being fed grapes by Venus, goddess of love. Sculpture was a popular theme for early photographers as moving subjects were harder to capture.

Museum no. E.1204-1992 []


Daguerreotype; Ambrotype; Photography

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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