JF Ptak Science Books Post 2753
One of my favorite escapes on this blog is writing about cross section and cutaway images, scenes that show multiple levels, inside and out, peeling away a bit of facade to show the working stuff underneath. Buildings are particularly interesting, especially when it shows what people are doing inside of them, and to that end I'm sharing three good examples, two from 1883 and a third somewhat earlier, from 1852.
The first two images are from Le Magasin Pittoresque, volume 51, printed in Paris in 1883 (located on pp 383-6), where we are instructed that it is not the beautiful and classical Paris that we are to piece-apart but rather the Paris that works--that's the true Paris, "le vrai Paris", not the "real" Paris that plays, "Paris qui s'amuse". It is working Paris, the article states, that is the Paris worth studying.
The cutaway structure is said to represent one of those of Rue Auber or Avenue de l'Opera, or some such, a standard building of its time, housing businesses and trades. On the first floor is the cafe complete with flaneur (or "saunterer"), and traders and "industrialists"; there is a restaurant above that, and then an "elegant milliner" on the next. Then comes "un grave personnage" which is perhaps an attorney, and above that a fashionable tailor. Next come the children in a geometry class, and then at the top floor, rooms for a worker and a servant (as the description allows).
The next structure we are told could've been on St. Denis. On the ground floor we find a fencing and dance master, two related peas in a related pod, coupled with another good pairing above, where we see a watchmaker and a bookseller. ("L'art et l'industrie font bon voisinage, comme pour montrer l'influence que l'un a sur l'autre".) Next occupying a whole floor is a dealer in art and trinkets ("bibelots"); above this, an unhappy scene on the left featuring a dentist. On the next floor we find happier surrounds, showing a toy maker and a music instructor; further on, we see a group of women working a quilt or some such; at top, there is a photographer, and to the right two small rooms for the working folk.
[Image source: Blog Histoire Geo https://pierrickauger.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/diverses-vues-en-coupe-dun-immeuble-parisien/ Full text available at Hathi Trust https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/012224156]
The third example is another fine slice of Parisian city life, from Edourad Texier's Tabelau de Paris, printed in 1852. This may be a little more whimsical than the other two, if for no other reason than the whole assortment is topped off by what may be a laughing cat.
I couldn't find full text for this one so I'm just free-wheeling, but it doesn't take much to interpret the scenes. On the ground floor on either side of the entrance we have, I think, a couple of gents who may be taking too much liberty with the cook and concierge. The first floor is evidently first class--we see some well dressed and evidently bored people--or at least they look so compared to the folks downstairs. Above them is a well-to-do family, someone making enough to afford good clothing and toys and artwork and a mother-in-law. The smaller and cramped rooms start above here, with a scene of a down-and-outer being presented a bill no doubt for collections presented to a man with nothing in his room save a bag of his possession; across the hall a humble couple entertain their dog. In the attic/garret we find two artists amusing/inspiring one another, while at the far end a family seems to be in desperate times. In between these two is someone on the floor underneath an umbrella, no doubt a philosopher. And again, on top of it all and perhaps in editorial, a laughing cat.
[Image source: Blog Histoire Geo https://pierrickauger.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/diverses-vues-en-coupe-dun-immeuble-parisien/ Full text availabe at Hathi Trust https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/012224156]