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Léon Eugène Méhédin
View Towards the Barracks, Sebastopol, Crimea
10 1/8 x 12 1/2 ins
Notes: Napoleon III, captivated by Roger Fenton's photographs shown at the 1855 Universal Exhibition held in Paris, decided he would send a team to the Crimea. The team of two, Jean-Charles Langlois, a career soldier and historical painter, and a young photographer, Léon Eugène Méhédin, arrived there in mid November 1855. Langlois specialised in panoramas celebrating great French military victories. Usually he produced preparatory sketches, but this time he was hoping to replace them with photographs taken on the spot. It would be tempting to assume that the final result would have more veracity... but it was not that simple. In fact, the pictures were taken in difficult conditions, in a race against time with the demolition crews, as the two men had arrived after the siege of Sebastapol had ended. The negatives, brought back to Paris in June 1856, were printed by Frédéric Martens, Napoleon III's photographer.