Assessment / Assistants / Hagia Sophia / Robert Van Nice / Thomas Whittemore

Color Slides

While we were looking through the slides and negatives of the Van Nice Collection for any stray Artamonoff photographs, Günder and I happened upon some beautiful color slides of Van Nice and some of his assistants. I had only seen a few of these images in relatively low-quality black and white prints floating around in the archival boxes, so we were very excited to find these! Some come from Van Nice’s personal slide collection and some from a collection of slides belonging to Ernest Hawkins, who was an assistant of Van Nice’s and a friend of many years.  They’ve been newly digitized, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you here.

Photographs of Thomas Whittemore are few and far between–especially color ones–so we all squealed when we found this photo of a gaunt but gallant looking Mr. Whittemore (fourth from left) by the Bosphorus.

Whittemore (fourth from left) colleagues by the Bosphorus, date unknown. Robert L. Van Nice Collection

The pictures Van Nice and his assistants working at Hagia Sophia were also an exciting find.  I should be used to it by now, but the idea of all of them working on those steep roofs (especially of the curved dome!) with all that equipment and no harnesses or anything still makes me dizzy!

Van Nice working on a mosaic in Hagia Sophia, date unknown. Robert L. Van Nice Collection

Assistants working on the dome. Robert L. Van Nice Collection

Assistants on the dome. Robert L. Van Nice Collection

Using a theodolite. Robert L. Van Nice Collection

Finally, there were a few good shots of Van Nice, in his element at Hagia Sophia.

Van Nice. Robert L. Van Nice Collection

Van Nice is older in these shots–I’m guessing they were taken in the mid-late 1960’s, but some of the earlier ones with Thomas Whittemore are actually quite old for color photography. Whittemore died in 1950, so the slides in which he appears must have been taken sometime in the late 1940’s.  They are a great addition to the collection, which otherwise had only been documented in shades of gray.


2 thoughts on “Color Slides

  1. A theodolite is a type of surveying instrument. Van Nice and his team relied on one quite a bit for determining angles as they were measuring the building. He was always very proud that every single measurement was taken by hand!

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