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Book Description
A unique photographic record of the development of the French Spa town of La Bourboule. Known as the children’s spa it has the strongest arsenic waters in Europe. The five albums were collected together by Aimé Ernest Amédée Lamarle (1835-1898), who as director of Compagnie des eaux minérales de la Bourboule, oversaw the rapid development and rebuilding of the Spa town during the late 1870s to 1890s. Recording the transformation from a distinctly varied jumble of buildings, the earliest photograph dated 1865, into a regularly laid out town based around the Grands Thermes, the photographs afford a superb account of development and exploitation of the water cure in the late nineteenth century. Large hotels begin to populate the spa with private villas, then distinctly isolated when built, although these were soon to be engulfed in later development or soon demolished to make way for yet more hotels and more modern villas. The spa, as it expands through this photographic record, gives the air of a building site. As ever more resources were thrown into the project many of the semi-completed structures dotted about the spa are everywhere surrounded, it must be added, by rough ground picket fences, immature shrubs and trees. By the time of the last dated photographs in October 1897 La Bourboule had achieved maturity, however, our director Lamarle died a year later so the albums come to a close. The town had probably been known for its hot springs since antiquity and although development had begun in the 1820’s it was something of an ad hoc affair as the ownership of the sources was shared between the Choussy family, the Société Sedaiges, Mabru and Perrière, a mining company owned by the municipality each of whom had their own well. Disputes were inevitable and resulted in a ‘War of the Wells.’ Litigation during the 1850s and 60’s was continuous - not helped by the population of the expanding village of La Bourboule. This situation could not continue and village residents asked for autonomy from the commune in 1871, and in 1875 this separation became effective. The separation meant the population could devote all its energy to devolving the spa and from this time the real beginning and transformational town began. The ‘Compagnie des eaux minéraux de La Bourboule’ was founded on 25 August 1875 by Clermont-Ferrand, succeeding the Sedaiges, Mabru and Perriere societies. Thanks to the contribution of its members, the company owns the rights to the mineral and spa waters flowing on the communal lands, the right to collect and exploit them, plus a land of 10,000 m² on the right bank in Bordering the Dordogne, the lease expiring in 1936, the Compagnie des Eaux also bought into the project and through an alliance with local and financial interests the development of the Spa was put on a progressive footing. The five albums therefore record the transformation of the village into a major spa town. The consolidation of interests into a virtual monopoly, together with a major construction campaign, was agreed between the municipality and Compagnie des Eaux. The latter undertook to construct, within six years period, the thermal baths, a town hall, a chapel, stone bridges, a casino, a concert hall with games and cafes, a road between Murat and La Bourboule, another road between Le Mont-Dore and La Bourboule, as well as arraigning for walks and a public square. The last competitors under this onslaught gave up and sold out to the Compagnie des Eaux.
Date 1870-1898
Binding original black morocco, some wear to extremities; another album partly filled with family photographs and an archive of printed papers, letters, ephemera, bill posters and various newspapers etc. connected with Lamarle and his family (1800-1923).
Publisher La Bourboule,
Condition Five albums [four, 28 x 38 cms. and one, 23 x 30 cms.] containing 281 full-plate photographs [approx. 21.5 x 16.5 cms.] together with a few portraits in a smaller format mounted on card ;

Price: £4500.00

Offered by Pickering & Chatto

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