The Mill Birkenau
Photographer: Frith, Francis (1822 - 1898)
Medium: Photographic print
British travelling photographer and publisher of continental views Francis Frith spent 6 weeks following the course of the Rhine and stopping at tourist sites in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. His photographs illustrate scenes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's novel Hyperion. Paul Flemming, Longfellow's fictional hero describes Birkenau as "A cool and lovely valley, shut in by high hills; shaded by alder-trees and tall poplars, under which rushes the Wechsnitz, a noisy mountain-brook, tthat ever and anon puts its broad shoulder to the wheel of a mill, and shows that it can labour as well as laugh...A mill forms as characteristic a feature in the romantic German landscape, as in the romantic German tale. It is not only a mill, but likewise an alehouse and rural inn; so that the associations it suggests are not of labour only, but also of pleasure. It stands in the narrow defile, with its picturesque thatched roof; thither throng the peasants, of a holiday; andthere are rustic dances under the trees."
Text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from the novel 'Hyperion'