The Nadars, a photographic legend

The Nadars


Théodore de Banville (1823-1891)

Adrien Tournachon, around 1853-1860

Albumen print from a collodion glass negative, 27.2 × 21 cm.
BnF, Prints and Photographs Department, EO-99 (1)-PET FOL
© Bibliothèque nationale de France
Théodore de Banville (1823-1891) was an exceptionally inventive and fanciful poet who frequented the same circles as the younthful Baudelaire, Jules and Edmond de Goncourt and Murger's Bohemians. Like Nadar, he was prolific in small newspapers, and contributed irregularly to the latter's biographical and caricatural undertakings. He praised him in his articles, and above all, versified the writer, caricaturist, and photographer, as well as the aeronaut, in several of his poems: from the Nadar who "above his brow graced with comets of the same ilk/ flaunts a fiery mane!" in his Odes funambulesques (Tightwalking Odes), to the creator of the Géant who observes Paris from above, in "Nadar and La Landelle in a Balloon." Banville wrote that "Nadar had clearly been born to mind everybody's business but his own," (NAF 25019, fol. 340) and wrote the foreword to Nadar's L’Hôtellerie des Coquecigrues in 1880.