Planche IV Valette, J.  (French, b.1870s (active))

The volume documents types of mania and claimed to be the first use of photography in medical iconography. Dagonet was chief of medical services at the insane asylum of Sainte Anne in Paris. The photographs were taken by J. Valette. The images chosen to be published were meant to represent Dagonet’s classification of nine principle mental disorders: Manie (3 portraits); Lypémanie (4 portraits);Stupidité (5 portraits); Mégalomanie(3 portraits); Folie Impulsive (3 portraits); Démence, grouped with Paralysie Générale (5 portraits);Imbécillité-Idiotie (5 portraits); andCretinismé (5 portraits) The photographs were accompanied by only brief comments, such as ‘quiet, chronic mania, with extravagant acts’, etc. For the 1894 edition, Dagonet’s brief remarks were expanded to much lengthier descriptions of the pathognomy of insanity. In the preface the author says that the book is ‘la premiere application de la photoglyptie a l’iconographie medicale, . . .’ The mounted photographic plates, all signed ”Clichés de J. Valette” and printed in sepia by the famous firm Lemercier ”Phoptoglyptie Lemercier et Cie”. There are two to five cameo portraits on each plate.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Falconer, John, and Louise Hide. Points of View: Capturing the 19th Century in Photographs. London: British Library, 2009. p. 124.