Tour de Rois à Rheims (Tower of the Kings at Rheims Cathedral)

Henri Le Secq1851

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Henri Le Secq's close-up view turns this church tower into a work of elaborate sculpture rather than architecture. Commissioned by the French government as part of the 1851 Mission Héliographique (Heliographic Mission), Le Secq photographed the Tower of Kings, the south tower of Notre-Dame Cathedral at Rheims, northeast of Paris, from high up in another tower. Details that would ordinarily be missed from the ground are here revealed with breathtaking clarity.

From 1845 to 1864, the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc worked on the restoration of the Cathedral. Construction scaffolding, which almost disappears in the elaborate decoration of the exterior, is visible encasing the tower at left.

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  • Title: Tour de Rois à Rheims (Tower of the Kings at Rheims Cathedral)
  • Creator: Henri Le Secq
  • Date: 1851
  • Location Created: Reims, France
  • Physical Dimensions: 35.1 x 25.9 cm (13 13/16 x 10 3/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Salted paper print
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Signed in negative: "h. Le Secq. Tour de Rois à Rheims."
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XP.370.25
  • Inscription: Inscribed verso print in pencil by unknown hand: "Henry (sic) Le Secq. Reims 'Tour de Rois' (face est de la tour sud) / 1851. / Exposition Princeton 83". Inscribed verso print in pencil by unknown hand "19 [encircled and crossed out] 23 [encircled]". Written inside present mat: "Label in former mat: /20 Henri Le Secq / Reims Cathedral / "Towers of Kings"/ Positive Proof from / Paper negative, 1851 52?".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: French
  • Classification: Photographs