[Entrance to the Port of Boulogne]

Artist: Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)

Date: 1855

Medium: Salted paper print from paper negative

Dimensions: 28.8 x 43.5 cm (11 5/16 x 17 1/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund, 1992

Accession Number: 1992.5000


Among the most beautiful of all Baldus' photographs are the views of Boulogne harbor on the final pages of the album presented to Queen Victoria during her state visit to France in 1855. This one shows the elegantly engineered jetties that guided ships past the scruffy shoreline into the town's protective harbor and out again to the Channel waters. Bathing cabins have been wheeled out to line the distant beach, a boat rocks gently in the water, registering as a ghostlike blur during the long exposure, and ships dot the Channel. Baldus' true subject, however, is the seductive combination of water, light, and atmosphere-a subject that would become central to Impressionist painters a decade later-rendered here in richly colorful tones from deep eggplant to light peach on this matte-surface salted paper print.