Delphine Rosa Herbet

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Soon after the introduction of the daguerreotype process, the first nude photographs emerged. Depicting nude women in paintings as figures from mythology or in religious scenes was generally accepted. However, the realism of photography and capturing nude models in an everyday environment was experienced as shocking. Nude photography would flourish in France until the First World War, but was banned during the French Second Empire (1852–1870). Photographers, models and sellers who were involved in nude photography could be prosecuted.

An archived Paris police register with the number BB3 covers the period from November 1855 to June 1868. The register contains prints of models that appeared on nude photographs. These prints were used as evidence in court, and because of this, the names of many models who posed nude during the 1850s and 1860s are known today. The model in this daguerreotype also appeared in the BB3 register. Her name was Delphine Rosa Herbet, born on 25 October 1839, and she posed for several photographers. Herbet was arrested for the first time in June 1858 for posing nude, and she was sentenced to one month in prison. Two years later, she was arrested twice for the same offence, and she was sentenced to another three months in prison. Nothing is known about her life after her release1. The shown image of Herbet is a reproduction on film transparency that was made in the late 1970s of the original stereo daguerreotype.


  1. Pellerin, D. (2020) History of Nudes in Stereo Daguerreotypes: Collection W. + T. Bosshard. pp. 46-53. ↩︎