In December 1852 Bacot, a man of independent means living in Caen, briefly visited the island of Jersey bringing resources gathered by the republicans of Caen and Bayeux for Victor Hugo and the exile community. He also carried with him photographs of the Gothic monuments of Normandy, pictures that Hugo described as "marvels." During the following year, Bacot sent additional photographs to the writer, including this one, about which Hugo wrote: "The old Gothic house is a particularly miraculous thing; mass and detail, strength in the shadows and perfection in the highlights, everything is there. . . . I congratulate the sun for having a collaborator such as you." By photographing in strong sunlight and with a long lens, Bacot transformed the half-timbered walls and overhanging eaves of the cloister into patches of deep shadow and patterns of light. Such photographs articulated a highly romanticized view of the medieval--a view deeply colored by Hugo's own writings and poetic drawings of Gothic architecture.
Inscription: Inscribed in ink on mount BC, below print: "Cloître St.-Amand. // Rouen."
Believed to have been given by the artist to Victor Hugo; [...]; Edouard Lagnel, Caen.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 9," June 12, 1995–August 28, 1995.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs: A Decade of Collecting," June 5, 2001–September 4, 2001.
Chéreau, Bernard and Annick. E. Bacot, A. de Brébisson, A. Humbert de Molard: Trois Photographes en Basse-Normandie au XIXe Siècle. Caen, France: Ardi, 1989.