The Madeleine, Paris, France


This photochrome print of the Madeleine, or L'Eglise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine (Church of St. Mary Magdalene) in Paris is part of “Views of Architecture, Monuments, and Other Sites in France” in the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Construction of a church on the site of the Madeleine began in 1764 under the direction of chief architect Pierre Contant d'Ivry (1698–1777), but was halted during the French Revolution of 1789–97. In 1806, the Emperor Napoleon I ordered the original church to be razed and commissioned Pierre-Alexandre Barthélémy Vignon (1763–1828) to build a Temple de la Gloire de la Grande Armée (Temple to the Glory of the Great Army), which Vignon patterned after a Roman temple. In 1842, the building was finally consecrated as a church. The1900 edition of Baedeker's Paris and its Environs, with routes from London to Paris: Handbook for Travellers informed visitors that the Madeleine or, “Church of St. Mary Magdalen, is built in the style of a late-Roman adaptation of a Greek temple . . . 354 ft. in length, 141 ft. in breadth, and 100 ft. in height. It stands on a basement about 23 ft. in height, and is surrounded by an imposing colonnade of massive Corinthian columns. The building, which is destitute of windows, is constructed exclusively of stone. The niches in the colonnade contain thirty-four modern statues of saints.”

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Detroit Publishing Company, Detroit, Michigan


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color


  • The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr., and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.

Last updated: July 8, 2014