Édouard BaldusFrench, born Germany (Grünebach, Prussia [now Germany], 1813 - 1889, Paris, France)
Amiens (vue générale) (Amiens [General View])
In 1855 Baron James de Rothschild, principle investor in the French rail line Chemin de Fer du Nord, commissioned Baldus to make prints for a souvenir album documenting Queen Victoria's historic trip through northern France.
The trip, which began at Boulogne-sur-Mer on the English Channel and ended in Paris, signified the newfound economic cooperation and personal friendship between the queen and the French emperor Napoléon III. It also gave France the opportunity to show off the country's modern railroads to its trading partner. Baldus's album included fifty views of railway stations, cathedrals, and other historic sites along the queen's route, all bound in a sumptuous leather book with maps and a hand-painted title page.
Queen Victoria and Prince Philip, who were photography enthusiasts, were familiar with Baldus's work before he made the album. He had established his reputation making photographic surveys of France's architectural heritage for the Missions Héliographiques, a government program designed to document ancient monuments for future preservation.