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Entree de la Via-Mala, Grison

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Switzerland (photographed)

  • Date:

    late 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ferrier, Claude Marie, born 1811 - died 1889 (photographer)
    Soulier, Charles (photographer)
    Levy, J. (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Black and white stereoscopic photograph, transparency on glass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case ABOVE MX7, shelf X773, box B

Physical description

Stereoscopic photograph on glass, black and white transparency, entitled 'Entree de la Via-Mala, Grison'. Lettered with title and the number 4612.

Place of Origin

Switzerland (photographed)


late 19th century (made)


Ferrier, Claude Marie, born 1811 - died 1889 (photographer)
Soulier, Charles (photographer)
Levy, J. (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Black and white stereoscopic photograph, transparency on glass


Height: 8.4 cm Size of glass, Width: 17 cm

Object history note

This narrow gorge was the most serious obstacle on the approach to the two mountain passes: the Splügen and San Bernardino Passes.
The name Via Mala is Latin and translates literally as "bad road". It is the most narrow section of the Hinterrhein valley on the way to the important San Bernardino Pass (2,065m asl). This important north-south connection has been used for millennia to cross the Alps. Stone Age and Megalithic remains are found here as well as Celtic and Roman.
The name is of Roman origin, created when the Roman road between Lindau and Milano used this route. The reason for the name is obvious: the valley narrows to a deep gorge and it is dangerous to cross it. In Roman times there was no road, but only a narrow trail, which was high above the gorge and thus included some ascent and descent. Some small sections are visible from the old bridge, marked with signs showing Roman travellers had been there. The first proper road was built in 1473, however the first time it was mentioned to be completed was not until 1723. It has been redone at various points in history since then. There is an old road which is still used today but there is also a new four lane motorway which bypasses the gorge through two long tunnels.

Descriptive line

Stereoscopic photograph on glass depicting the entry to the Via-Mala, Grison, Switzerland, by Ferrier FP et Soulier, and J. Levy Senior. French, ca. late 19th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Levy Sons & Co. 1895-1919
Paris, France and London, England

In 1864 the Parisian photographic studio of Ferrier pere, fils & Soulier was bought out and became M. Leon & J. Levy. This partnership lasted until 1872 when Leon left and it was renamed J. Levy & Co., which became an important producer of stereo-views and lantern slides. By 1895 his sons had joined the company and it was renamed once again to Levy Sons & Co. (or Levy et ses Fils). His son Lucien became a well known photographer who began publishing international view-cards from his own work depicting scenes mostly from within the French empire.





Subjects depicted

Gorges; Stereograph; Stereoscope; Landscapes


Photographs; Landscapes


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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