In our previous post, we were able to attribute to Louis Edouard Roussel, a French soldier, eight photographic prints dated from 1863. Those prints were previously in the collection of Lieutenant Antoine Le Begue de Germiny, who served as a chief of staff officer in Mexico from early 1864 to early 1867. We bought, from the same provenance, a stunning album of over thirty albumen prints, in near perfect condition. Most of the images were previously unknown. They are obviously the work of a French soldier but more importantly of a skilled and talented photographer.
The following photographs seem to indicate that our soldier was more than a skilled photographer. His view of the castle of Chapultepec, barely visible behind the lake of the park, is oddly reminiscent of some Barbizon views from the same time. With little documentary value, it looks more like an artistic attempt, a “délassement”.
We know, through the archives of the Commission Scientifique du Mexique, of two more officers who were asked to practice photography in Mexico. A lieutenant Riffault and a lieutenant Laure Henri Gaston Galard de Bearn. Both could be the author of these photographs.
The jury is still out, but we will keep you posted soon.