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COLLECTION Identifier: BER-22

Salvadore and Giuseppe Salvadori records

Scope and Contents

The papers provide a detailed view of the Salvadori business activities over nearly half a century. The bulk of documents, such as letters, cables, ledgers, account books, inventories and invoices, gives a vivid and precise account of their commerce in art, the management of the firm, and the individuals involved. Series 1 (52 boxes + 11 photograph albums + loose prints + photographic equipment) includes a large number of glass plate negatives related to the different artworks the firm dealt with. The series also includes an original camera used to take photos and 15 albums with photographic prints showing artworks offered by the firm, divided per subject: Tapestries, Paintings, Sculptures, Arms, Interior decorations, etc., as well as objects to be sold or already sold. Although the bulk of the glass plates negatives consists of professional images, there are also personal images, such as family portraits. Series 2 (25 boxes) consists of correspondence, which broadly covers the interaction between the Salvadori firm and its clients, business associates, and the public. The subseries "Letters to Salvadori" is arranged alphabetically (vs the original chronological order) and includes letters from more than 800 clients; the subseries "Letters from Salvadori" consists of copy letter books with letters to the two main clients of the firm, Charles M. Ffoulke and the Duke d'Aosta, and to the others, bound in volumes in chronological order. Series 3 and 4 (10 boxes) contain the firm’s business records. It includes account books and ledgers, inventories, and invoices. With regard to unidentified clients, a division according to artwork type has been preferred in the organization of invoices. A subseries is devoted to the firm’s expenses. Series 4 is dedicated to the Salvadoris' personal expenses and business. Acidic documents (such as cables) have been isolated with archival paper and in some cases enclosed in mylar. Fragile materials have been enclosed in mylar. Albums with photograph prints have been placed in boxes. These photographic materials are available online. Due to their bad state of conservation, they may be consulted only on special request; their location is indicated in the finding aid. Some of the collection has suffered from humidity and the acidity of the ink; as a result, many of the tissue papers, printed photographs, as well as glass plate negatives, are illegible and will be unavailable for consultation until treated by conservators.


  • Majority of material found within 1887 - 1930
  • 1880 - 1949


Language of Materials

Material written in Italian, French, English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright on materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.


1,820 glass plate negatives
16 photograph albums
40 Volumes
53 boxes (document files and photograph albums)
17,6 linear feet

Biographical / Historical

The founder of the firm was Salvadore Salvadori, who took advantage of the fruitful business climate established in Florence after it became the capital of Italy from 1865 to 1870. The firm’s first shop was located in Piazza Pitti while a second, added some time later, was in the via de' Fossi. In these two locations both Salvadore and his son Giuseppe were active. Under Giuseppe the firm strengthened its activity and enjoyed its heyday. The firm was sought after by an international group of clients, including Bernard Berenson, Joseph Widener, Charles M. Ffoulke, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Charles Loeser, Paul Chalfin, and, among the Italians, the Duke of Aosta, The Count of Turin, the Marquis della Gherardesca, the counts Guicciardini-Strozzi, but also Gabriele D'Annunzio and Eleonora Duse. Among the masterpieces sold through Salvadori can be mentioned the three Sassetta panels in the Berenson collection, the two Renaissance marbles coming from the Martelli collection bought by Joseph Widener and now at the National Gallery in Washington, and the series of the Barberini tapestries purchased by Charles M. Ffoulke. Beyond these masterpieces, the firm specialized in decorative arts, such as furniture, ceramics and metalwork, but they excelled in commerce in tapestries, rugs, and textiles. In their third shop, located in the Magnani Feroni palace in Borgo San Frediano, they established a conservation laboratory for textiles. In the same palace Giuseppe created several show rooms where their goods were displayed, providing a model of interior decoration. After Giuseppe’s death around 1928-30, his son Salvadore, called Salvino, took over the business. In 1931 the conservation laboratory in the San Frediano Palace was closed (its activity was carried on by Antonio Faccioli, the former director, at another site). Many years later, in his old age, Salvino sold the rich Salvadori collection of textiles to Loriano Bertini, an entrepreneur in the textile industry in Prato, who donated the bulk of the collection in 1975 to the new Museo del Tessuto in Prato. Around the same time, another smaller section of the collection was given to the Deutsches Textilmuseum in Krefeld-Linn.


Collection organized in four series: 1. Photographic Material, 2. Correspondence, 3. Financial, 4. Personal. Series 1-3 are organized in subseries. Files within series and subseries are arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

After the death of Salvadore Salvadore (called Salvino), son of Giuseppe, the archive of the Salvadori firm was divided in two parts and given to two different heirs, both living in Florence. The Biblioteca Berenson acquired the two sections in different times.

Processing Information

Processed by Ilaria Della Monica
Link to catalog
Salvadore and Giuseppe Salvadori records, 1880-1949: A Finding Aid
Ilaria Della Monica
Description rules
Language of description
The finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Biblioteca Berenson, I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies Repository

Via di Vincigliata 26
Florence 50135 Italy
+39 055 603 251
+39 055 603 383 (Fax)