French Floral Studies

In the mid to late 19th century close-up photographs of plants and flowers like these were intended to replace lithographs traditionally used by students of industrial design. To quote Charles Aubry, a major 19th century French photographer of floral studies, “in order to facilitate the study of nature, I caught it in the act, and I hereby offer to workers some models that may increase our productivity in the industrial arts that are somewhat compromised by the insufficient number of drawing schools”. Opening the dedication of an album presented to the Imperial Prince, these words sum up the ambitions, strategies and context of a business that was representative of the adventure of photography during the Second Empire. Although these prints are not signed they are very much in the style of Charles Aubry.