From Iceland — Third-Oldest Photo Taken In Iceland Discovered

Third-Oldest Photo Taken In Iceland Discovered

Published January 27, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Den Kongelige Fotografisamling

The third oldest photo to be taken in Iceland was discovered in the Danish royal family’s photography collection, and was put online last year, RÚV reports.

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However, the significance of the photo was not initially recognised and went ignored for some time. It was not until historian Inga Lára Baldvinsdóttir was perusing the collection, spotted the photo, and believed the description did not match the content that further investigations were initiated.

Sigfús Eymundsson was listed as the photographer, with the description stating that it was likely taken sometime from 1860 to 1870. Inga Lára believed the photo was likely older than this, as one can see the name “L. Rousseau” written in the lower left corner of the photo.

This was none other than Louis Rousseau, a photographer who traveled extensively across the Arctic at the behest of Napoleon III in 1856. While in Iceland, he took some 40 photos, but until now only two had been recovered: one of Tjörnin pond, and the other of a young woman, the latter photo of which is now housed in a French museum.

As a point of interest, the oldest photo taken of an Icelander is a daguerreotype of one Þóra Melsteð, snapped in 1846.

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