The Palaci Photography Archive

As is now customary, the Library-Archive of the Palace of Peralada is displaying the wealth of its book collection in annual exhibitions on specific subjects. This year, photography has been chosen. Visitors will have the opportunity to view material relating to the beginnings of photography, such as optical viewfinders and the evolution of the technique from 1876 up until the 1960s.


The bibliographic and documentary part is enriched by nineteenth- and twentieth-century cameras, some of them loaned by the Empordà Technical Museum, the Padrosa-Pierre private foundation in Figueres; with diverse photographic material, such as negatives – in different supports and formats;
glass and stereoscopic plates; glass slides and acetate negatives; and ephemeral material such as the printing wrappers of various commercial businesses. With regard to the positives, the exhibition includes a representation of albumin albums, outstanding among which is the one known as the Àlbum dels Comtes [Album of the Counts] – made between 1886 and 1893 – which is unusual as it was the work of nobleman Tomás de Rocabertí, Count of Peralada, and because it is a pioneering example of a correspondence course with remote developing: Peralada-Paris and vice versa.


It will be accompanied by other albums, such as Bellezas de Gerona [Beautiful Sights of Girona] by photographer J. Martí (1877), the Àlbum Rubaudonadeu comprised of pictures by the photographer from Reus, based in  Paris, Josep Mª Cañellas (1889), and the sole copy of the Álbum de Gerona by Girona photographer Amis Unal  (c. 1880-90); photogravures; cartes de visite; postcards from this country and abroad; works by different photographers and publishers; and reportages by wellknown photographers in Catalonia, including pictures by Mauri, Moliné y Albareda, R. Eroles, Napoleon, Audouard, Mas, Matorrodona, Francesc Serra, Brangulí, Sans, Pablito and Meli.


The photographic archive of the Palace of Peralada is home to a healthy collection of pictures. Enthusiasts of this new technique, Antonio and Tomás de Rocabertí, practised it, had their own photographic laboratory and conveyed their passion to their workers and family members, such as Juan Miguel Sureda, the Marqués de Vivot, from Mallorca. The counts complemented the collection with commissions made to outstanding nineteenth-century photographers from the Empordà: Domingo Bosch – La Galeria Franco-Catalana and Joan Corney.


The twentieth century saw the inclusion of the photography collections of Damià Mateu, Miquel Mateu and the Suqué-Mateu family. Among these, the images showing the Mateu family’s relationship with the members of the Spanish royal family are interesting, such as his Majesty Alfonso XIII; Prince, then King Juan Carlos I; Prince Felipe, now King Felipe VI, and with well-known figures such as Salvador Dalí, who visited the castle on various occasions. one of these took place on the occasion of making the proclamation of the “Investiture of the Knights of Wine”, in the Palaci Library, which Dalí used to show his surrealist vein by praising the qualities of water.


Inés Padrosa Gorgot
Exhibition Curator