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The first news about Tommaso Cuccioni is from 1830 and it refers to him as a dealer of etchings and prints at Via della Croce in Rome. Subsequently his address was at 18 Via Condotti. Pietro Becchetti a historian of Roman photography, as well as a great collector, owns the account books of Tommaso Cuccioni and using these he has been able to reconstruct part of the activity of Cuccioni.
With the advent of photography and the rise of tourism to the eternal city there was an increasing demand for photographic prints and Tommaso Cuccioni, whose shop is at the center of a busy tourist area, took advantage of this opportunity by exhibiting photographic views in his shop. Amongst the first of these were by the Roman and foreign artists of the Roman School of photography ("Circolo del Caffé Greco") and included prints by Giacomo Caneva who became a close friend.
Around 1852 as the demand for photographs continued to increase Cuccioni took up photography himself and soon specialized in images of Rome and the works of art in Roman museums. He always used large cameras – the smallest had a plate-holder around 23 x 33cm and he also took enormous panoramas and united the different parts together with skill. These photographic works, which were mounted on cardboard to provide support, demonstrated his considerable ability and had the "Fotografia Cuccioni – Via Condotti, Roma" blindstamp.
He exhibited some large views of Rome and the statue of Lacoon (Vatican Museum) at the "Exposition de la Societé Francaise de la Photographie" in Paris (1859). One of his photographs was 160 x 68 cms requiring three plates of 55 x 70cm each. In 1862 he exhibited fourteen large photographs in London, some showing the frescos of Annibale Carracci of Palazzo Farnese and some additional views in Rome. He had the satisfaction, on that occasion, to sell all of his works.
Tommaso Cuccioni died in Rome August 23rd 1864 and the firm is taken over by his brother while the life tenancy was left to his wife Isabella. From the moment that there were two heirs a notary required a studio inventory and this was prepared by the photographer Giacomo Caneva who was a family friend.
Isabella Cuccioni, who was a very active woman, continued with the shop and was assisted by the photographer Giuseppe Ninci, who had been her husband's assistant. Two years later Ninci opened his own photographic study and Isabella Cuccioni purchased many new negatives from other photographers of Rome including Oswald Ufer, Moscioni, Vasari, Verzaschi and Robert MacPherson. It is not unusual to find prints by these photographers with the blue wet stamp "Negozio Cuccioni – Roma".
During this period the firm of Cuccioni changed location twice, first it was in Piazza di Spagna and in 1873 it was at Via del Babbuino 120.
[Kindly contributed by Marco C. Antonetto, Jan 20, 2008]