Olde World Public Art: Street Lamps and Outhouses

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At the Universal Exhibition of 1878 in Paris, the municipal administration exhibited a set of 88 photographs under the title “Collection of gas lighting devices established on public roads” .

Commissioned the previous year from photographer Charles Marville, this set of prints illustrates the variety of lighting devices that can be seen in the capital. The Parisian public gas lighting system is indeed a source of national pride, it gives Paris its name “City of Light” and contributes to the influence of France.

The series of photographs was subsequently sent to the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, together with that devoted to “ Edicules established on public roads and on promenades ” . These series of photographs were offered at the end of the exhibition, on April 8, 1881, to the Australian government, and they are today preserved at the State Library of Victoria (State Library of Victoria ) .

The photographs were taken over a period spanning 1861-1862 to 1877.

The Carnavalet Museum and the Historical Library of the City of Paris also have prints and negatives from this series.

As far as I know, this is the only complete set online. about half were featured in the link above, the rest I had to scavenge from the deepest recesses of the web. I managed to come up with 84 out of 88 and this was a fun Easter Egg hunt. As synchronicity would have it this double album set was gifted to Australia for their 1880 Expo in Melbourne which I just happened to publish an article about last week… So they are complimentary,

Link to the all-inclusive AUS report

Click to enlarge