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Pl. VI. Vache de Hereford Tournachon, Adrien  (French, b.1820)

In the month of May, 1856, the Imperial Government held the first universal agricultural competition in France. It was viewed as an opportunity to catalog types of breeding cattle and reproduce the catalog in the form of an album. Mr. Baudement, professor of zootechnics at the Conservatoire des arts et métiers, was in charge of the publication and commissioned leading artists for these reproductions. A multitude of both renowned artists and engravers collaborated in the enterprise which lasted almost 10 years from 1856 to 1864. The final album contained 87 fine plates of cattle types. The plates are based on photographs by Adrien Tournachon ("Nadar jeune" half brother of Félix Nadar). Tournachon’s prints served as models for the illustrations, which were redesigned and otherwise embellished by such known painters as Rosa Bonheur and Constant Troyo. The drawings were then transferred onto a plate by Riffaut (the known collaborator of Niepce de Saint-Victor) but he died before finishing the work, and Baudement turned over the task to other engravers and photoengravers, including Charles Nègre. The final results are so misleading that it is impossible to guess that the original models were photographs. [1]

A landmark in the early integration of photography onto the printed page.


[1] Marbot, Bernard. After Daguerre: Masterworks of French Photography (1848-1900) from the Bibliothèque Nationale : Musée Du Petit Palais, Under the Auspices of the Festival D’automne, Paris, September 18-November 23, 1980 the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, December 18, 1980, 1980-February 15, 1981. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980. 149. 168