The Daguerreian Society

From Illustrated News (New York) Vol. 1, No. 14 (2 April 1853) pg. 220.


    The idea of erecting a monument to one who has greatly extended the sphere of painting, and who has endowed contemporary art with a wonderful invention—in a word, of honoring the works and services of Daguerre by a monument, belongs to the French Society of Fine Art, which fulfilled, on the 4th of November last, its duties, by presiding at the inauguration of this noble tomb.

    Early in the morning, the entire population of Bry-sur-Marne was on foot. The town wore an unusually animated aspect; in every direction were groups in motion, and the neighboring villagers, in their holiday dresses, kept thronging in, to the sound of all the bells in the place, as they rung forth their measured chimes. All, strangers and citizens, were marshaled in procession, under the command of one leader, Mr. Clement.
    At eleven o'clock the procession wended its way to the church, where places of honor had been reserved for the members of the bureau of the Society of Fine Arts and of the family of the deceased. In the body of the church stood the National Guard in double ranks, and with them the personal friends of the illustrious defunct. Ere long, M. de Corrominas, curate of the community, with his attendants, proceeded to celebrate grand mass, and then repeated all the appropriate prayers, which were rendered peculiarly impressive by the sanctity of the place and the vast numbers assembled.
    Had the attention of those present been occupied with the ceremonies, with that curiosity would they not have regarded that splendid picture presented by Daguerre to his parish—a diorama, which was one of his masterpieces, and by which his magic pencil has given to the little church of his village, which is poor and bare like most French country churches, the apparent extent and beauty of a cathedral.
    The service concluded, the procession advanced toward the cemetery, the national guard being in advance, proceeded by a number of muffled drums. The corporations of the city had all spread forth their banner, the greater part of which were borne by young girls clad in white. To these succeeded Mr. de Corronimas and his clergy, in their sacerdotal robes, the President of the Society of Fine Arts, accompanied by two Secretaries, and the deputation sent by the society. After this body came the mayor M. Mantienne, and all the municipal authorities of Bry, with the relatives and friends of the family, and finally a vast assemblage, composed of the mixed population of the neighboring villages.
    On arriving at the tomb, a still more numerous assembly, however, awaited them; and after the benediction had been given, President Peronne, Daguerre's intimate friend, overcome by his feeling, begged M. Moullard de Comtat to read the address, to which grief would not permit him to give utterance. The Secretary then advanced, and in a clear voice read aloud a discourse, in which the life of Daguerre was simply and accurately related, and his contributions to science and art fully appreciated. An official address from the municipal authorities here followed, which was answered by a short and touching address from President Peronne.
    The monument erected to Daguerre is of classic simplicity. A granite pedestal support a pilaster, on the upper part of which Mr. Husson has sculptured in medallion a likeness of the illustrious defunct. On one of the sides of the pedestal we read—To Daguerre, The Society libre des Beaux Arts. MDCCCLII. One the other—Diorama—Daguerreotype. And on the third—The Municipal Council of Bry, to Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, born at Cormeillien-Parisis, November 18, 1787, died at Bry, August 10, 1851

(End of text. Please refer to our textnote regarding this text. A related text is also available, "Daguerre's Monument.")

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