A grand whole-plate daguerreotype of a subject which epitomises the 18th-century notion of the picturesque - a landscape in which beauty is to be found in the rough and rugged elements of the natural world. Here the sharp, craggy rocks of the cliff face contrast with the dark tangle of branches, twigs and foliage bursting from the stone. The dark crevices and caves add mystery and, perhaps, danger. They combine with a sense of movement created by the tumbled boulders and dark leaves swaying against the sky to create an image that is at the same time both beautiful and disturbing.
There are two other whole-plate landscape views from 'la Douy' remaining in the archive. One shows a different view of a cliff, the other is a tree study. Another tree study was sold in May 2003 (lot 3).
Girault de Prangey rarely signed or titled his plates, the majority having numbered title labels on the back. In Paris and at his home in France he occasionally incised the plate itself, as here, with a monogram signature, title or date.