Askew Collection, 1931,1932

Askew, Henry Ess


Photographic materials

Henry Ess Askew was born in 1906 in Kansas City. He was a Harvard graduate and became a fellow of the American Academy in 1928. His work is focused on the study of the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum. Askew stayed at the Academy for six months after the end of his Fellowship, then considered to publish the results of his research in the Academy's "Memoirs".
As Askew was unable to finish his work, the American Academy took over the rights for publication and the glass-plate negatives. The project was taken over by Erling Olsen, another Harvard graduate, but was interrupted by World War II, where he lost his life. Olsen left his notes at the American Academy. The work was finally completed by Richard Brilliant FAAR'62 and published in 1967 as "The Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum". Sources: AAR Annual Reports.

Henry Ess Askew began his studies with enthusiasm, arranging the erection of a scaffolding tower that could be moved around the arch and commissioned the photographer Cesare Faraglia to document the reliefs in 1931 and 1932. The expenses of the scaffolding were paid by the Director of the American Academy in Rome, while Askew paid the photographers' fees and took most of the detail photographs himself.

Plates and photographic prints are cataloged according to their original number. The sculptures towards the Capitol are indicated as follows: SW, large southwest panel and NW, large northwest panel; the sculptures towards the Forum: SE, large southeast panel and NE, large northeast panel; S, the sculptures facing the Rostra and N, the sculptures facing the Curia; A, architectural details; F, small friezes below panels; S, spandrels, C, reliefs on columns pedestals; M, miscellaneous.
The Arch dedicated in 203 A.C. commemorates the Severan "Victoria Parthica".

The vintage prints are glued on cardboards, housed in single sleeves and vertically stored in 5 boxes. The gelatin glass plate negatives have been re-housed in polyester sleeves and stored in 8 acid-free boxes kept in the climate control room.
233 negatives have been digitized.

In 1939 the American Academy in Rome purchased the negatives and a set of prints and retained the rights to their use. 

226 vintage prints (12x17 cm, 18x24 cm)
296 gelatin plate negatives (24 x 30 cm)

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