Fr. Alphonse Fortier Escalier de Chateau de Blois
Medium Salt print from albumen wet plate negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1853 Print Date 1853
Dimensions 10 x 7-5/8 in. (254 x 194 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Initialled 'FF', dated and titled (Blois) in black ink. Title in pencil on recto at bottom right of mount. This was the first photographic illustration published in the SFP's Revue Generale in 1856, but there in albumen.
Fortier exhibited at the 1856 Exposition de Buxelles and the Societe Francaise de Photographie's (S.F.P.) 1857 and 1867 expositions. After making daguerreotypes, he used albumen and collodion glass negatives. Blanquart Evrard published many of his images, although this is not a Blanquart Evrard print.
The Royal Château de Blois is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans. Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the château of Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard.
Its most famous piece of architecture is the magnificent spiral staircase in the François I wing. In 1841, under the direction of King Louis-Philippe, the Château de Blois was classified as an historic monument, and so became a favorite subject of early French photographers.
Provenance: from the collection of Duc de Luynes; through his heirs. Duc de Luynes (Honoré Théodore Paul Joseph d'Albert, duc de Luynes (Paris, December 15, 1802-Rome, December 15, 1867) was highly interested in archeology, numismatics, art, architecture and photography; and he collected all of these articles. He sponsored a major contest for the first method of easy printing of photography and also sponsored numerous photographers and their work, often bringing photographers on his travels, such as the one to Lebanon and Palestine in 1864, when he brought the amateur photographer Louis Vignes along to take photographs of the trip. He sponsored the Bisson brothers on their trip to Italy to document the major architectural ruins and important building there. The duke's collection of 19th-century photography is considered the most important such collection of that period. A tear near the bottom left has been professionally restored.
See: Jammes, Blanquart-Evrard et les Origines de l'Edition Photographique Francaise, pl.534, p.301; Sobieszek, "This Edifice is Colossal": 19th-century Architectural Photography, pl.47.
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