“Ashby and Abruzzo” is an event which enriches the British School at Rome’s Ashby project as a whole, but which will be of interest both to researchers and scholars, and to the general public.
This exhibition devoted to the most striking unpublished photographs by Thomas Ashby, Peter Paul Mackey and the sisters Dora and Agnes Bulwer is based around the construction of a narrative able to recreate the places, events, faces, costumes and landscapes of Abruzzo visited by Ashby in the early 20th century.
Whilst the interest of scholars and researchers in archaeology and anthropology can be attracted by exhibiting images which have never been published in over a century of history, the exhibition also aims to attract the attention of the general public thanks especially to the photographic documentation, again unpublished, on the city of L’Aquila and its province and especially the people, monuments, views and places given dramatically contemporary relevance by the earthquake of 6 April 2009.
This event represents a further step forward in the important work to promote an existing and never published legacy which forms a rich source of visual information from which scholars will be able to draw at length. Additionally, helping to improve the cultural understanding of one’s own region and re-appropriate the memory of places and events which have by now been lost is an essential prerequisite for the improved safeguard, correct management and promotion of our regional heritage.
The exhibition presents various maps showing Ashby’s travels in Abruzzo and a select set of images printed using the antique “carbon” technique.
For several years the British School at Rome, in collaboration with other institutions, has been engaged in an important project to study, catalogue, restore and digitize the Ashby collection and the other photographic collections held in its Archive. Additionally, to disseminate this immense cultural legacy and make it available to a wider audience it has organized a series of major exhibitions and published the following catalogues:
• Thomas Ashby: un archeologo fotografa la Campagna Romana tra ‘800 e ‘900, Rome 1986;
• Archeologia a Roma nelle fotografie di Thomas Ashby 1891-1930, Naples 1989;
• Il Lazio di Thomas Ashby 1981-1930, Roma 1994;
• Immagini dal passato: la Sardegna archeologica di fine Ottocento nelle fotografie inedite del padre domenicano inglese Peter Paul Mackey, Sassari 2000;
• Sulla Via Appia da Roma a Brindisi: le fotografie di Thomas Ashby, 1891-1925, Rome 2003.
• I giganti dell’acqua: aquedotti romani del Lazio nelle fotografie di Thomas Ashby (1892-1925), Roma 2007;
• Immagini e memoria: Rome in the photographs of Father Peter Paul Mackey 1890-1901, London 2009.
In 2009 a project to publish the images in the Photographic Archive and Library on-line was launched and can be consulted at www.bsrdigitalcollections.it/.