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The A59 photographer

Captured moments

And the photographs are full of fascinating details of early 20th century life - the ships, trams and cars. There are some wonderful posters. The buildings of Rouen seem to be covered with them: in Vienna, a poster advertises a concert of songs by Wolf. Washerwomen lay out the linen to dry in the sun, on the banks of the river at Salamanca, and also on the beach at St Malo. He photographed the fish market at Copenhagen, and the market at Stockholm. Among the shops, a butcher in Rouen, with huge beef carcases hanging outside in the street, and a funeral parlour in Reims, which advertises its ability to ship bodies anywhere, are particularly striking.

Some photographs, too, capture particular moments. He went to Le Mont-Saint-Michel at least twice. One view shows it in the first decade of the 20th century, with much of the restoration finished, but another shows it in 1898, with the scaffolding in place to lift the new spire and Fremiet statue of St Michael into place atop the newly-restored crossing tower. A crowd of clergy in fluttering white robes process towards the Mont, perhaps to dedicate the new statue, while another photographer mounts his camera on its tripod. When, in 1910, the A59 master went to the Escorial, he found, and photographed, the coffin of a member of the Spanish royal family lying in state before the high altar of the church at the centre of the palace.

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