MAMMOTH-PLATE RAILWAY ENGINEERING PHOTOGRAPHS

A collection of eight albumen prints (or salt and albumen collages) from mammoth-plate negatives of railway bridges over the Seine, Sarthe and Vilaine rivers. 

France, 1864-5.

Six albumen prints, two photo-collages (lightly albumenised salt prints for the skies, albumen prints for the foreground), various sizes from 362 x 543 mm to 400 x 543 mm, all on their original mounts with printed title and credit ‘Compagnie des chemins de fer de l'Ouest’, additionally mounted on card; some occasional foxing to the printed mounts, and mild dampstains to card mounts, withal in excellent condition; one print signed and dated ‘Forest 1865’.

£30000 + VAT

Approximately:
US $36702€34770

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A collection of eight albumen prints (or salt and albumen collages) from mammoth-plate negatives of railway bridges over the Seine, Sarthe and Vilaine rivers. 

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An exceptional series of oversize prints commissioned by the Compagnie de Chemins de Fer de l‘Ouest to commemorate the construction of a series of new bridges completed 1861–1864, including the metal bridge at Orival, later destroyed in the Franco-Prussian War, and the oblique stone bridge of Corbinères with its elegant thirty-metre columns. 

L’école nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris, has a group of sixteen photographs from the same series registered in 1864, with images credited to the Bisson Frères and the same ‘Forest’ who has signed one image here but is otherwise unknown.  The Bissons were known to have photographed several of the bridges under construction.  Whatever the identity of the photographer for each image, their scale and quality required great technical proficiency, matched by the quality of the prints; two of the prints here are immaculate examples of a trimmed photo-collage, using separate prints for the sky and the subject areas. 

Contents:
I. Viaduc d’Orival sur la Seine … Ligne de Serquigny à Rouen [from the East bank looking South, detail].  Albumen print, 362 x 543 mm.
II. Viaduc d’Orival sur la Seine … Ligne de Serquigny à Rouen [complete view] Albumen print, 362 x 543 mm.
III. Viaduc de Langon sur la Vilaine … Ligne de Rennes à Redon.  Two-part photo-collage, comprising a salt print with a light albumen coating for the sky area with a trimmed albumen-print scene laid over it, the whole 362 x 543 mm.
IV. Viaduc sur la Sarthe à Noyen … Ligne du Mans à Angers.  Albumen print, 354 x 547 mm.
V. Viaduc sur la Sarthe à la Suze … Ligne du Mans à Angers.  Albumen print, 387 x 541 mm.
VI. Viaduc sur la Sarthe à Loutinière … Ligne du Mans à Angers. Albumen print, 387 x 543 mm.
VII. Viaduc de Cambrée sur la Vilaine … Ligne de Rennes à Redon.  Two-part photo-collage, comprising a salt print for the sky area with a trimmed albumen-print scene laid over it, the whole 362 x 543 mm.
VIII. Entrée du Souterrain de Corbinières (Côte de Paris) … Ligne de Rennes à Redon. [with a bridge over the Vilaine].  Albumen print, 400 x 543 mm.

A full list with condition reports is available on request.

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