549 - DEROY, Isidore Laurent; BECQUET; DARDOIZE, Émile

The most complete series of views. Without doubt, the views included in the «Album sur L’Espagne» make up the most comprehensive collection of views of the city of Barcelona of the middle of the 19th century. Here nine views are shown in more depth than in Chapuy’s album (nº 524-528), giving a tour of the most representative urban spaces that made up Barcelona’s bourgeois panorama. This extended from the port area, the Passeig de Mar and finished, at that time, with the new recently urbanised areas based around the Passeig Maritim and the Rambla, such as the Plaça Reial.

A renovated city. The lithographer Isidore Deroy wanted to leave a visual testimony of the urban development of Barcelona and of the most important urban renovation projects that the city was undergoing. In the foreground, the view of the urban ensemble from Montjuïc allows us to appreciate the density of the area of Raval and the process of demolition of the medieval walls that was taking place from 1854 onwards. Despite the more relevant picturesque character in the views of the port, Deroy’s prints accentuate the monumental feel of the represented spaces such as the grid layout of the Passeig d’Isabel II, the Rambla as a treed boulevard and carriage way, as well as the geometric regularity of the Plaça Reial, the first view of this just a short time after its construction (mº 540), or the garden areas of the new Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli, with the monument to the admiral Galceran Marquet of 1851. In the Pla de Palau the monumental fountain of the «Geni Catalá » of 1856 stands out, the work of the architect Francesc Daniel Molina.

The new photographic medium. Despite Deroy’s will to accentuate an urbanism with wide views, his contribution is a faithful representation of the urban development that existed at the time and is clearly superior to the other lithographies of the city. This is probably due to the fact that Deroy based his work on the set of photographs taken by the Frenchman Franck – the pseudonym of François-Marie-Louis-Alexandre Gobinet de Villecholles – when he was in Barcelona around 1856. If we compare this photographic series with Deroy’s lithographies we can clearly see the similarity in the viewpoints that the two products share.

(Cfr. 550, 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 556 y 557).