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Almost nothing is known of the life of the photographer A. de Bonis. It is only in recent years that his work has been appreciated as they are listed in the second photographic catalog of the English archaeologist John Henry Parker (1806-1884) and have been subsequently identified by the research of Maria Francesca Bonetti.
De Bonis operated in Rome at the same period as Carlo Baldassarre Simelli and he was probably his photographic assistant. He normally signed, but not always, his photographs affixing a stamp on the back of the image (AdB) and also punching the photo with a blind stamp with the cursive initials DB. De Bonis usually wrote the caption in pencil on the back of the image.
He produced about ten images for the series of John Henry Parker and also produced a very beautiful series of views and places in Rome. His photographs are also found the collection of the French painter Edmond Lebel (1834-1908) along with those of Carlo Baldassarre Simelli and Giacomo Caneva.
His photographs always contain distinctive perspectives, of ample breath and often taken back by the lower part. The photos of De Bonis are among the most beautiful and individual of those taken in Rome during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Normally they are albumen prints from wet plate collodion glass negatives but there are also known some rare salted paper prints which are always of the same size - around 25 x 19 cm (10 x 7.5 in).
Some or all the negatives of de Bonis were probably preserved in the studio of Simelli which was sold in 1871 to the French photographer Gustave E. Chauffourier. As was also the case with the work of Simelli some of the negatives of de Bonis were subsequently printed by Chauffourier with his own captions.
[Kindly contributed by Marco C. Antonetto, Jan 15, 2008]