Videos ()
The American Civil War: Paintings on the Battlefront and Home Front


[Group near the Mill at Petit-Mourmelon]

Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820–1884)

Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 27.9 x 35.2; Mount: 47.2 x 62.4
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2005
Accession Number:
  • Description

    While at Châlons Le Gray also recorded scenes less formal than the military maneuvers, the celebration of Sunday mass, and the orderly encampments which are the subject of most of the pictures in this project. Here, perhaps on a Sunday afternoon, a few officers and their wives have shed military discipline for a relaxed encounter with the local populace of Petit-Mourmelon, directly adjacent to the camp.
    Within weeks of the camp's establishment, this sleepy rural village and its slightly larger neighbor, Grand-Mourmelon, were transformed into the site of pleasure gardens, restaurants, cabarets, and firework displays for the amusement of the troops, their families, and the curious thousands who arrived by train from Paris. This photograph, however, and another made by Le Gray on the same outing at the village mill, depict a more casual recreation in which military man and local miller, Parisian lady and black-clad priest all mingle along the water's edge and pose--even mug--for the camera. True to the spirit of the occasion, Le Gray adopted a less structured composition than he had for his views of the military camp itself.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Blindstamp on mount, BC: "Photographie/ Gustave Le Gray et Cie/ Paris"; signed in red ink, recto BR

  • Provenance

    Texbraun Estate; [Oberfot Anstalt, Liechtenstein, September 14, 1988]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

  • See also