Works of the Provisional Canalization of the São Pedro River: Immigrants Aqueduct


This image is from Obras da canalização provisoria do rio São Pedro (Works of the provisional canalization of the São Pedro River), an album of 26 photographs documenting one of a series of projects carried out in Brazil in the late 19th century to improve the water supply of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The project was led by the engineer Francisco de Paula Bicalho (1847–1919), director of the Inspetoria de Aguas da Corte. The photographs are by Marc Ferrez (1843–1923), a Brazilian artist of French heritage who documented the development of Brazil as a nation. Each photograph is identified by the aqueduct, camp, or waterfall depicted. Ferrez photographed construction work on the water projects from 1879 to 1889. He began extensively documenting the canalization of the São Pedro River and construction of the Pedregulho reservoir in the São Cristóvão neighborhood in 1879. Inaugurated by Emperor Pedro II the following year, the reservoir served as one of the main suppliers of water to Rio de Janeiro for almost the next half century. Ferrez’s photographs record an intense period of modernization and infrastructural change in Rio de Janeiro. His work on the different projects to improve the city’s water supply is found in eight albums, three of which were bequeathed to Bicalho and three to Emperor Pedro II. This photograph is from one of the albums given to the emperor. It is part of the Thereza Christina Maria Collection at the National Library of Brazil. The collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II throughout his life and donated by him to the national library. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Rio de Janeiro

Title in Original Language

Obras provisórias para canalisação do rio São Pedro : aqueducto dos Imigrantes

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph : black and white ; 26 x 37.8 centimeters


  1. Maria Inez Turazzi, Marc Ferrez (São Paulo, Brazil: Cosac & Naify Edições, circa 2000).
  2. Maria Inez Turazzi, “Paisagem construída: Fotografia e memória dos "melhoramentos urbanos" na cidade do Rio de Janeiro,” Varia Historia 22, number 35 (January–June 2006).

Last updated: September 22, 2015