[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


Boulogne-sur-Mer, the terminus of the railroad line from Paris, was the gateway for trade and travel between Victorian England and Second Empire France. It was also the arrival point for Queen Victoria's state visit in 1855, and this exceptionally rich, subtle print comes from an album commissioned by Baron James de Rothschild, owner of the line, for presentation to the imperial court on that occasion. Baldus's photograph, showing the elegantly engineered jetties that guided vessels from the English Channel past the scruffy shoreline and into the protected harbor alongside the Boulogne station, masterfully renders the soft light and atmosphere pursued by Impressionist painters a decade later.