Description: Yuste, ruinas del Monasterio, 1858 Álbum compuesto por 6 fotografías, colección del Duque de Montpensier album composed for 6 photographs, collection Duque de Montpensier
Dimensions: images 36 x 25, 5 cm, album
Artist or Maker: Charles Clifford (1819 -1863)
Medium: Papeles albuminados, Albumen prints, imagen, 36 x 25, 5 cm, album tiraje de época, vintage
Literature: Agua Zarca, Revista de Cultura y Tradiciones Populares. No 15, agosto 2016 Clifford en España, un fotógrafo en la corte de Isabel II (1997)
Charles Clifford fotógrafo en la España de Isabel II, (1996)
Provenance: collection Duque de Montpensier
Notes: he album that makes up this lot is the bookplates and reference number of your collection, in the back is manuscript Yuste, must have been a shortened version of the album Views of Toledo and Extremadura who made Charles Clifford commissioned by Maria Luisa Fernanda, wife the Duke of Montpensier.
Antonio Maria de Orleans, Duke of Montpensier (Neuilly-sur-Seine, July 1824 31 - Sanlucar de Barrameda, February 4, 1890) was the youngest son of Luis Felipe I, King of France, and Maria Amalia of Two Sicilies, princess of the Two Sicilies. Its cosmopolitan character allowed him to become familiar with the art world maintaining relationship with painters and photographers making a collection of ancient and contemporary art in which I include the middle photograph of representation that fascinated illustrated at the time and in which meeting a great number photography, which made him one of the major collectors of photography in the country.
Rachel Bullough Ainscough in her recent article ‘ Charles Clifford’s photographic scramble through the lands of Toledo and Extremadura in the spring of 1858’ provides some interesting information about these photographs.
“In the spring of 1858, the well-known British photographer Charles Clifford travelled to the provinces of Toledo and Extremadura with the intention of photographing some properties of the Duke of Frías, as well as the monastery of Yuste, which had been acquired in 1857 by the Marquis of Mirabel with the intention of restoring it; a project, according to several articles in the press, to be financed in part by the Duke of Montpensier, brother in law of the Queen Isabella II. (Díez Pérez 2006, 176)
The album: “Views of Toledo and Extremadura” includes 28 views showing Toledo, Talavera de la Reina, Oropesa, Rosario,Jarandilla, Cuacos, Yuste, Plasencia, Alcántara and Mérida. A copy of the album can be found in the royal archives in Madrid and also in the Montpensier collection in Sanlúcar de la Barameda (Cádiz).
Clifford travelled to Yuste on mule back and describes in detail at the beginning of his book this extraordinary experience and how difficult it was to carry his heavy, fragile photographic equipment in a state of “continued nervous excitement” caused by “each sway and stumble of these long eared animals, threatening destruction to our brittle pans, glasses and bottles”. (Clifford s/f, 6)
In his description of Yuste, Clifford constantly refers to decadent state of decadence of the monastery: “All is damp, ruin and decay” (...) “grim decay and crumbling walls” (...) “an utter disregard and neglect of all repairs in visible at every step”, (...) “the present occupants, the bats and night birds, that streamed out of the windowless room into the desolate, roofless church” (Clifford s/f, 19)
He also notes that Yuste is a “spot seldom visited by travellers, and yet well worth a visit, both on account of its picturesque
neighbourhood and being the site of the close of the brilliant career of the Imperial Charles V.” He mentions with certain nostalgia the pond where the Emperor “often sat fishing” and where on the 31st August, 1558 he “was smitten with his last and fatal attack.” Echoes of this nostalgia can also be found in Richard Ford’s famous ‘Handbook for Travellers’ when he says that “the bright stars, reflected in the ink- black tank, twinkled like diamonds: how often had Charles looked out on a stilly eve on the self-same unchanged scene where he alone was now wanting.” (Ford 1855, 499)
In the annex of ‘A Photographic Scramble through Spain’, under the section titled “Yuste”, there are notes on eight of the photographs from the album “Vistas de Toledo y Extremadura”, although only two are actually from Yuste itself. The other six photographs mentioned were taken in Oropesa, Jarandilla, Plasencia and Mérida.
The selection of photographs of Yuste is representative insofar as it was of special interest to British buyers -including the Royal Family- taking into account that the photographs show the resting places and final residence of the Emperor Charles V as well as places visited by the Duke of Wellington when in Extremadura – in particular: Plasencia, Alcántara and Mérida, places similar to those visited by Charles V. Both figures were of great interest to the British public at the time Rachel Bullough Ainscough,‘Las perfipecias del fotógrafo Charles Clifford por tierras toledanas y extremeñas en la primavera de 1858’, Agua Zarca, Revista de Cultura y Tradiciones Populares, No 15, August 2016
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