Baldus and Le Gray-Mestral, among many other important photographers, took photographs of the Aqueduct du Roquefavour, but this image is thought to be by Octave de Bermond de Vaulx.
The Roquefavour bridge is actually an arched stone aqueduct with a length of 393 meters and a height of 82.65 meters. Located near the town of Ventabren in the Bouches du Rhone, it is used for routing water from the Durance to Marseille and is part of a channel called Canal de Marseille. It crosses the Vallée de l'Arc, spanning both the river, the road to Aix-en-Provence Berre and the Aix-Rognac railway.
Its construction began in 1841 and was completed in 1847. The work was directed by the engineer of bridges and roads Franz Mayor de Montricher and William Fraisse. The architecture, largely inspired by the ancient Pont du Gard, is nearly two times higher than the latter.
Octave de Bermond de Vaulx (Lodoix Thérèse Octave de Bermond de Vaulx) was an Officer of the French Légion d'Honneur. He was born on April 1, 1831 in Sisteron in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France. He died on July 11, 1895 at the age of 64.
There is a short biography in Primitives de la Photographie (BN) for photographer and calotypist Jean Antoine Bermond de Vaulx, who was Octave's father. Besides being a calotypist, Jean Antoine also apparently developed new agricultural approaches in Switzerland. It is unclear if the son learned the process from the father, or the father from the son, or each learned photography independently.
Octave joined the French Navy in 1847. He was made a navy ensign on March 25, 1854 in Toulon. He was apparently briefly in the Crimea during the Crimean War, stopping off in Italy. He photographed scenes during his early voyages as ensign using the calotype method.
He was later made a navy lieutenant (August 10, 1861) and then captain of a frigate in Toulon (September 9, 1872). He was married just two weeks later (Sept. 24) to Marie Augustine Barthelemy de Chadenedes. On June 9, 1877 he commanded the cruiser "Linois" on a number of missions. He was then made a ship-of-the-line captain beginning April 10, 1879. He was commander of the iron-clad ship La Reine Blanche (the White Queen) and the transport ship Le Tonkin during the French Indochina campaign. As of January 1, 1881, he was assigned to Port Lorient in Brittany.
He became a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1858, and then an Officer in 1878; he then added Du Brevet in 1879.
He was also made a viscount, a title of nobility just under Baron. He retired in 1885 and lived for a time in Paris, Beyrouth and Marseilles in the 1870-90s. Octave had one younger brother, Marius Amédé, who died in 1870 at the Battle of Gravelotte at the age of 32.
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Medium Paper negative
Photo Date 1854c Print Date 1854c
Dimensions 7-3/4 x 10-1/2 in. (197 x 267 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.