Artist: Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)
Medium: Salted paper print from paper negative
Dimensions: 28.8 x 43.5 cm (11 5/16 x 17 1/8 in.)
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.