The call of the sea. A large-format stroll along the French coast in the late 19th century
Photo Léon & Lévy
july 2, 2022 — september 4, 2022

The call of the sea

The call of the sea. A large-format stroll along the French coast in the late 19th century

Huts at bathing time. Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), 1890-1900.<br />Scanned from a glass negative<br />Photo Neurdein

Huts at bathing time. Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), 1890-1900.
Scanned from a glass negative
Photo Neurdein
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available

From the North Sea to the Mediterranean, the Roger-Viollet Gallery is bringing you a breath of fresh air with a new series of panoramic and stereoscopic photographs coloured at that time.

Rochebonne beach and point. Paramé (Ille-et-Vilaine), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Léon &Lévy

Rochebonne beach and point. Paramé (Ille-et-Vilaine), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.
Photo Léon &Lévy
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Casino and beach. Cabourg (Calvados), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

Casino and beach. Cabourg (Calvados), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Jetée-Promenade Casino. View from the beach. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), circa 1900.<br /> Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Jetée-Promenade Casino. View from the beach. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.
Photo Léon & Lévy
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Port of Menton. Alpes-Maritimes, circa 1900. <br />Scanned from a glass negative.<br /> Photo Neurdein

Port of Menton. Alpes-Maritimes, circa 1900.
Scanned from a glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
30x24 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available

These images, taken from 1860 to the early 1900s, depict a very different perception of the sea, whether one is a summer visitor in Nice or a shrimp fisherman in Calais. By that time, most people considered the French coasts as more dedicated to the economy of local labour than to emerging leisure activities.

Twenty years after the invention of photography, the operators of the Parisian studios Léon & Lévy travelled the coastline, capturing the people of the sea, the regattas and the first baths in one-piece swimming costumes worn for both men and women.

Couple of bathers next to a beach hut, circa 1900.<br />Scanned from a glass negative<br />Photo Neurdein

Couple of bathers next to a beach hut, circa 1900.
Scanned from a glass negative
Photo Neurdein
50x70 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Bathing huts, circa 1900.<br />Scanned from a glass negative<br />Photo Neurdein

Bathing huts, circa 1900.
Scanned from a glass negative
Photo Neurdein
36x57 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Casino and beach. Cayeux-sur-Mer (Somme), circa 1925.<br />Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Casino and beach. Cayeux-sur-Mer (Somme), circa 1925.
Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.
Photo Léon & Lévy
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Harbour at low tide. Piriac-sur-Mer (Loire-Atlantique), circa 1920.<br />Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Harbour at low tide. Piriac-sur-Mer (Loire-Atlantique), circa 1920.
Digitized from a 16 x 42 cm glass negative.
Photo Léon & Lévy
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Beach and National fort. Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine), circa 1870.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Beach and National fort. Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine), circa 1870.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available

The Léon & Lévy studios are considered as the forerunners of stereoscopic images on glass plates (8.4 x 17.2 cm), panoramic views (16 x 42 cm) and very large format (24 x 30 cm), marking the beginning of an industry intended for a large public that chose these photographs from catalogues.
The engineers of the Léon & Lévy studios invented a process that allowed photos to be coloured on a second glass plate placed between the positive image and a frosted film.
These stereoscopic relief images then become even more realistic when viewed through a stereoscope.

Boats returning to port. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), 1903.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Boats returning to port. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), 1903.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x80 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Sardine fishermen. Les Sables d'Olonne (Vendée), circa 1900.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Sardine fishermen. Les Sables d'Olonne (Vendée), circa 1900.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x80 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Pier,Trans-Atlantic ship entering the port (General Transatlantic Company). Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), circa 1870.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Pier,Trans-Atlantic ship entering the port (General Transatlantic Company). Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), circa 1870.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Fishing boat leaving the port. Dieppe (Seine-Maritime), 1872.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Fishing boat leaving the port. Dieppe (Seine-Maritime), 1872.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Boat in dock. Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), circa 1900.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Boat in dock. Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique), circa 1900.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
View of the harbour. Dieppe (Seine-Maritime), circa 1870.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

View of the harbour. Dieppe (Seine-Maritime), circa 1870.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Fishing boat whipped by the waves. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), 1903.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Fishing boat whipped by the waves. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), 1903.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x80 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
View of the beach. Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine), circa 1870.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

View of the beach. Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine), circa 1870.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x80 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Fishing on the shore. Le Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche), circa 1885.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Fishing on the shore. Le Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche), circa 1885.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x80 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Beach and swimmers. Beuzeval (Calvados), circa 1870.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Beach and swimmers. Beuzeval (Calvados), circa 1870.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Promenade des Anglais and the Pier. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), vers 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Promenade des Anglais and the Pier. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), vers 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Children on the beach. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Children on the beach. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Children on the beach. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Children on the beach. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Regatta. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Regatta. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
37x80 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Children on the beach. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Children on the beach. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Panorama viewed from the Saint-Sauveur church. La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Panorama viewed from the Saint-Sauveur church. La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Harbour. Royan (Charente-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Harbour. Royan (Charente-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Quays and harbour. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Quays and harbour. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Swimming time. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), circa 1870.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Swimming time. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), circa 1870.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
View of the beach. Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

View of the beach. Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Stereoscopic view manually colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Entrance to the harbour. Piers at the arrival of a ship. Courseulles-sur-Mer (Calvados), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 16 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Entrance to the harbour. Piers at the arrival of a ship. Courseulles-sur-Mer (Calvados), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 16 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30,4x57 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Restaurant de la Réserve, facing the Baie des Anges. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), created in 1862. The hall, of Italian architecture, will be completed by two constructions linked together by footbridges: a luxurious kiosk and a peculiar cement schooner called the Inflexible, built on a rock above the water. The sailing ship disappeared around 1940, and replaced by a diving board. <br />Digitized from a 24 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

Restaurant de la Réserve, facing the Baie des Anges. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), created in 1862. The hall, of Italian architecture, will be completed by two constructions linked together by footbridges: a luxurious kiosk and a peculiar cement schooner called the Inflexible, built on a rock above the water. The sailing ship disappeared around 1940, and replaced by a diving board.
Digitized from a 24 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
50x70 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Promenade des Anglais. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), 1920.<br />Photo Neurdein

Promenade des Anglais. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), 1920.
Photo Neurdein
43x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Racing yachts on a regatta day. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 24 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

Racing yachts on a regatta day. Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 24 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
43x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Shrimps Fisherwomen. Calais (Pas-de-Calais), circa 1900.<br />Scanned from a glass negative<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Shrimps Fisherwomen. Calais (Pas-de-Calais), circa 1900.
Scanned from a glass negative
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Palais harbour. Belle-Ile-en-Mer (Morbihan), circa 1900.<br />Scanned from a glass negative<br />Photo Neurdein

Palais harbour. Belle-Ile-en-Mer (Morbihan), circa 1900.
Scanned from a glass negative
Photo Neurdein
30x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
First time at the sea. Langrune-sur-Mer (Calvados), 1890-1900.<br />Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

First time at the sea. Langrune-sur-Mer (Calvados), 1890-1900.
Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Corniche and Vallon des Auffes. Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 24 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Corniche and Vallon des Auffes. Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 24 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Léon & Lévy
50x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Beach and baths. Beuzeval-Houlgate (Calvados), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 13 x 21 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

Beach and baths. Beuzeval-Houlgate (Calvados), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 13 x 21 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
35x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Sunset. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.<br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Sunset. Le Tréport (Seine-Maritime), circa 1890-1895.
Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Franco-Russian celebrations after the military convention between Russia and France signed in 1892. Bay of Toulon (Var), 1893.<br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Franco-Russian celebrations after the military convention between Russia and France signed in 1892. Bay of Toulon (Var), 1893.
Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Effects of the moonrise. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), circa 1860.<br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Effects of the moonrise. Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), circa 1860.
Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Fishermen in the bay. Le Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche), circa 1900.<br />Scanned from a glass negative<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Fishermen in the bay. Le Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche), circa 1900.
Scanned from a glass negative
Photo Léon & Lévy
50x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available

The firm Léon & Lévy took part in the International Exposition of 1867 where it won the Emperor's Great Gold Medal. In 1874, the Léon & Lévy studio became J. Lévy et Cie, Isaac Georges Levy being the sole director of the company from that date on. Upon the arrival of Georges Lévy's two sons, Ernest and Lucien, in 1895, the company expanded and became Lévy & Fils, with the works keeping the signature "L. L.". This photographic firm had an intense activity, publishing prints sold individually, albums compiling travel photographs as well as postcards, all between 1864 and 1917, when they stopped their activities.

An inhabitant of the Sables-d’Olonne. Les Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée), 1890-1910.<br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

An inhabitant of the Sables-d’Olonne. Les Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée), 1890-1910.
Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
30x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Freshly-caught tuna. Les Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée), 1890-1900.<br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Freshly-caught tuna. Les Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée), 1890-1900.
Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Old harbour. Bastia (Corse), 1890-1900.br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.<br />Photo Léon & Lévy

Old harbour. Bastia (Corse), 1890-1900.br />Detail of a stereoscopic view hand-colored at the time.
Photo Léon & Lévy
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Grosse-Horloge gate and harbour. La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

Grosse-Horloge gate and harbour. La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available
Quai Sainte-Catherine. Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône), circa 1900.<br />Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.<br />Photo Neurdein

Quai Sainte-Catherine. Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône), circa 1900.
Digitized from a 12 x 30 cm glass negative.
Photo Neurdein
38x100 cm print. Limited edition of 30 numbered copies.

available

These forty-eight photographs come from a collection of several hundred thousand glass plates, 110 tons of which were saved from destruction in the 1970s by Hélène Roger-Viollet.
Today, these glass plate negatives are part of the Parisian heritage. They are preserved by the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris and have been exhibited for the first time by the Roger-Viollet Gallery in large format modern prints.