Louis-Émile Durandelle and Albert Chevojon’s photographs of the Grand Hotel Terminus-Saint Lazare, Paris stop of the Orient Express service
|Louis-Émile Durandelle and Albert Chevojon’s photographs of the Grand Hotel Terminus-Saint Lazare, Paris stop of the Orient Express service
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1889 WHEN TOURISM CHANGES SCALE
Durandelle & Co, The Tenth Policeman, Gare St.-Lazare, 1889 (detail)
“The Eiffel Tower was about to be inaugurated but “Whereas in London, railway terminus hotels tended to precede the fashionable haunts of society, in Paris the reverse applied. Multiplication of railway companies in Britain introduced a strong degree of competition and sense of pride.
Catering for passengers and providing them with accommodation was a part of the railway lines identity, in a manner largely absent in the centralized and state-aided French systems, although international exhibitions in France did stimulate accommodation near to the rail heads from Channel and transatlantic ports…” (Elaine Denby, Grand Hotels: Reality and Illusion).
The Compagnie des chemins de fer de l’Ouest broughtAmerican tourists landing in Le Havre to St Lazare station in less than six hours.
” … Le Grand Hotel Terminus-Saint Lazare (1889) in Paris thus terminated in time for the Exposition Universelle, which was to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution.
This happened also to be the first year of the Orient Express service through to Constantinople, probably accounting for design influence from the Terminus spreading to the Pera Palace Hotel … “
“… Juste Lisch, the architect for the Saint Lazare enterprise, was to design both railway station and a grand hotel with about 500 rooms. The idea of integrating both elements had been current in London since the Great Western Royal at Paddington station in 1854, where access on foot directly from the hotel foyer to station platform was even more convenient than that devised by Lisch in the form of a covered foot-bridge…”
“… From outside, the Terminus displays no great distinction, its plain rectangular form and six storeys being dominated more by the heavy chimney stacks and pedimented former windows than by any points of architectural importance.” (Elaine Denby, Grand Hotels: Reality and Illusion).
“A combination of exposed structural steel with traditional classical columns of pink granite in the entrance hall gives way to the less conventional three-storey central hall, where coupled iron stanchions support an arched gallery reached by the double staircase …”
” … The outer and inner halls provide much more interest and, like the exterior, have suffered little alteration during the hotel’s life. A combination of exposed structural steel with traditional classical columns of pink granite in the entrance hall gives way to the less conventional three-storey central hall, where coupled iron stanchions support an arched gallery reached by the double staircase.
A second gallery surmounts the first, and all was finished in Pompeian wall decoration. The eccentric mixture of styles proves very unexpected within such non-committal street fronts. Technology obviously attracted the enthusiasm of the management, whose handbills waxed lyrical on the various subjects of saving time, money, trouble and fatigue because of the easy access from the station, of the rapidity of the telephone room service, and the magic of two-way switching from bed side and main room lights : ‘One would believe oneself in Houdinis company.’.. ” (Denby)
The Café Terminus became instantly an extremely fashionable place to be in Paris. Five years later, on 12 February 1894 , a French anarchist, Emile Henry detonated a bomb at the Café Terminus in the Parisian Gare Saint-Lazare killing one person and wounding twenty.
The 1881 freedom of the press laws were restricted after Several bombings and assassination attempts including the Terminus bomb attack. The Police, under the supervision of Alphonse Bertillon used photography, now known as a mugshot, to complete the record of individuals suspected with anarchists ideas : La Police donne un visage a l’anarchie.
Henry was executed by guillotine on 21 May 1894. His address to the jury remained famous : — I became an anarchist only recently. It was no longer ago than around mid-1891 that I threw myself into the revolutionary movement. Previously, I had lived in circles wholly permeated with the established morality. I had been accustomed to respecting and even cherishing the principles of the nation, family, authority and property.
[Je suis anarchiste depuis peu de temps. Ce n’est guère que vers le milieu de l’année 1891 que je me suis lancé dans le mouvement révolutionnaire. Auparavant, j’avais vécu dans les milieux entièrement imbus de la morale actuelle. J’avais été habitué à respecter et même à aimer les principes de Patrie, de Famille, d’Autorité et de Propriété. Mais les éducateurs de la génération actuelle oublient trop fréquemment une chose, c’est que la vie, avec ses luttes et ses déboires, avec ses injustices et ses iniquités, se charge bien, l’indiscrète, de dessiller les yeux des ignorants et de les ouvrir à la réalité … vous n’avez pas pu détruire l’Anarchie. Ses racines sont profondes : elle est une réaction
Louis-Émile Durandelle (1839-1917) albumen prints of the Gare Saint-Lazare are uncommon as well as his documentation of the erection of the Eiffel Tower. Following the famous Opera Garnier construction photographs, those commissions – Eiffel Tower and Saint Lazare station and Terminus — were crowning a long and successful carrier, and in 1889 he sold the Durandelle and Delmaet company to his first assistant, Albert Chevojon (1865-1925).
These photographs are bound in a mammoth folio album containing 18 large albumen prints including 4 impressive panoramas, circa 47×80 cm. Only one other album could be traced in Musée d’Orsay collections, with 14 plates. They are not credited with the photographer’s name. One explanation is that they are already bearing both the name of the architect, Juste Lisch (1828-1910), and the name of the engineer, Emile Clerc (1827-1899). Other explanations are that the album was privately issued, and at that time the company was considering changing its name from Durandelle to Chevojon.