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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Historic Paris photos auctioned
Street barricade in Rue St Maur
The images showed the attacks on the barricades
Images of street battles in Paris in 1848 - thought to be the first examples of photo-reportage - have been sold in London for nearly 200,000.

A pair of daguerreotypes - an early form of photography - were sold by a French aristocrat for 182,650 ($266,000) at Sotheby's.

Photography was a new medium in the year that saw revolutions sweep Europe's capitals.

Enlarge image Enlarge image
Paris had been gripped by revolt in February, deposing the monarchy, but angry workers took to the streets again in June, set up barricades and were brutally suppressed by government troops.

The pictures were taken by pioneering French photographer Thibault, who climbed to a rooftop on successive days to record the scenes on the barricaded Rue St Maur below.

Five days later they were used in the weekly newspaper L'Illustration with an account of the revolt and the battles with soldiers.

The first picture shows the street deserted on 25 June, and the second a day later shows the street filled with troops.

Fighters in Rue St Maur
The later picture shows the street teeming with troops and rebels

In all, between 23 June and 26 June tens of thousands of soldiers, National Guard troops and irregulars under the command of General Cavaignac massacred many insurgents across eastern Paris.

The images and feature were published in the journal on 1 July.

They documented a turning point in revolutionary foment in Europe, dispelling much of the optimism generated by the February revolution in Paris.

Revolts in Vienna, Hungary, Prague and Milan were also crushed, but not without forming part of the legend that inspired European socialists for more than a century afterwards.

See also:

11 May 01 | Arts
Smooth Dickens fetches 40,000
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