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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Documentary: Les Travaux Publics de la France (1878-1882)

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Les Travaux Publics de la France

In the middle of the nineteenth century a large number of public works were being constructed in France for the benefit of society. The bridges, roads, canals, port improvements, lighthouses and beacons were under the direction of the Ministère des Travaux Publics and photographs were shown at the Universal Exhibition in Vienna (1873). It was decided to create a publication of the photographs and this was organised by James de Rothschild and additional photographs were added. The photographs taken show the marvels of the construction and to emphasise the grandeur they are almost totally devoid of people. The finest regional photographers from France were involved in the undertaking and it stands as one of the great documentary studies but it is little known outside France.
The work was published in five parts:
Volume I: Félix Lukas - Ponts et routes (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1878-1882) [Bridges and roads]
Volume II: Edourd-Charles-Romain Collignon - Chemins de fer (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1878-1882) [Railways]
Volume III: H. de Lagrene - Rivières et canaux (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1878-1882) [Rivers and canals]
Volume IV: Voisin-Bey - Ports de mer (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1878-1882) [Sea ports]
Volume V: Emile Allard - Phares et balises (Paris: J. Rothschild, 1878-1882) [Lighthouses and beacons]
This publication included many of the best regional photographers working in France from the middle of the 19th century including:
Édouard Baldus (Paris)
Michel Berthauld (Paris)
De Bray (Nice)
Cabibel (Perpignan)
Cognac (La Rochelle)
Hippolyte-Auguste Collard (Paris)
Louis Alphonse Davanne (Paris)
Eugène Delon (Toulouse)
J. Duclos (Quimper)
Joguet (Lyon)
De Labrador (Bayonne)
Letellier (Le Havre)
Magny (Coutances)
Pacault (Pau)
Prompt (Albi)
Provost (Béziers)
Romanowski (Montpellier)
Sarault (Asnières)
Alphonse Terpereau (Bordeaux)
Adolphe Terris (Marseille) 



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